Google will get rid of any requirement to "use" its tumbleweed-tastic "social network" Google+ from YouTube and others of its popular websites, following mounting annoyance among users.
This means people will no longer be forced to use the ghost-town social network: you'll be able to log into YouTube, and other Googley services, without having to create mandatory Google+ profiles.
Previously, Google harassed users of YouTube, Gmail and so on, to convert their accounts into Google+ accounts, a move obviously designed to boost G+'s sad numbers. It didn't go down very well at all – a lot of folks hated being forced to use Google+.
"People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier," wrote Bradley Horowitz – Google vice-president of streams, photos and sharing – in a blog post today.
"But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use."
The Google+ service was launched in 2011 in an attempt by Google to take down Facebook and its associated traffic and advertising revenues. With the backing of Google's other web services behind it, many believed Google+ was a real threat to Zuck and Co. in the social networking space.
That interest, however, never materialized and, despite boasts of users in the hundreds of millions (thanks to sucking in YouTubers, Gmailers and others from more popular services) Google+ saw little in the way of actual traffic.
"When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life," said Horowitz.
"While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we've needed to rethink."
With this latest move, Google+ will now be put in a position to sink and swim once and for all. Without other services feeding users into its ranks, Google+ will have to establish itself as a social network in its own right.
Given the lack of interest the platform has generated over the last four years, this move could prove the beginning of the end for Google+. The Chocolate Factory has a policy of killing off services that fail to take off rather than let middle-of-the-road products linger. If Google+ isn't able to drum up more activity in the near future, Google CEO Larry Page may well admit defeat and pull the plug on the social networking experiment. ®