Google announced today that it’s doing away with the requirement that users create a Google+ profile to access Google products – and the internet rejoiced.
A little background
Google launched Google+ as a social network in 2011. A Google+ user profile is publicly visible and attached to many Google properties (such as YouTube). Although Google+’s user base grew between 2011 and 2012, this was largely due to Google requiring users to create a profile to access their favorite Google products. The downside of all this? Your Google+ profile and posts are searchable and far from private.
The simplified scoop
Google aimed for Google+ to rival Facebook. Instead, users recoiled from the forced nature of the “community.” Google forgot one critical component to building any kind of community is that people first have to opt-in. Having a profile you never wanted to have in the first place follow you all across the internet (from YouTube to your browser) was a nuisance and a complete disregard for user privacy and choice. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of streams, photos and sharing today conceded that, “…it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.” But don’t run out and delete your Google+ profile just yet. Google is slowly rolling out these changes so that everyone doesn’t abandon Google+ at once. Horowitz was sure to emphasize that this is not the end of Google+, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the beginning of the end.
Read Bradley Horowitz’s full post about the changes coming to Google+