Google is officially divorcing Google+ profiles from its other, more popular services. Today the company published a blog post announcing that over the next few months, "a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google."
The decision comes several months after Google stopped forcing new users to create accounts under its social network, which has failed to become the Facebook and Twitter competitor Mountain View once hoped it would be. Google has also split successful Google+ features like Photos into stand-alone products, a strategy it says will continue. "We’re well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs," Google's Bradley Horowitz wrote. "We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+."
The way it should be
"Your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles," Horowitz says. "And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles."
YouTube will be among the first big services to move away from Google+. Some of that starts today; YouTube says comments you make on its pages will no longer show up on your Google+ profile. But the ability to create a YouTube channel, upload videos, or comment without a Google+ is still months off, the company says — and it's warning users not to remove their Google+ profiles before that day comes, since doing so will also eradicate your whole YouTube presence. "Do not do it now or you’ll delete your YouTube channel (no bueno)."
Google insists Google+ isn't going away and will continue to provide an "interest-based social experience" for users who've grown to love its communities. But for everyone else, it'll finally be much easier to walk away from Google+ in the weeks to come.
Verge Video: Google's plan for the future