As reported last week, Hangouts, Photos, and Google+ are going to be considered as three independent product lines at Google, according to Sundar Pichai, product czar (see Sundar Pichai on the direction — or directions — of Google+). He said in an interview with Miguel Helft,
I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications [Hangouts], photos and the Google+ stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area.
It has been confirmed that David Besbris, who has led Google+ (including Hangouts and Photos) has stepped down from that role, and that Bradley Horowitz, a VP of Product (formerly of Yahoo’s Brick yard initiative), is picking up the newly reimagined Google+. Well, sort of.
In a post that does not mention Hangouts — which presumably is now being managed as an independent line — Horowitz also avoids using the Google+ name, and instead refers to Photos and Streams:
Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true — I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products! It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.
So it appears that Google+ has been cut into three parts, with Streams being the streaming part, Photos being the photos part, and Hangouts spun out on its own.
I am still hoping that Google take a version of Streams and integrate with Google Drive and Docs, where it would be more useful, rather than endlessly fighting an endless war against Facebook and Twitter.
So, the question is, when will they retire the Google+ brand? Horowitz has the product insight — I believe — to thread Streams into Google’s strong position in productivity with Docs and Drive. This would also follow the push that Microsoft has recently made with Groups in Office 365: a contextual conversation platform right where docs and created and shared.
Note that Google Glass is going through a similar retrenchment: failed product handed to a solid product person — Tony Fadell of iPod and Nest fame — who will reconfabulate the product and relaunch (see Google Glass isn’t dead, it’s going to be Nestified), but in the case of Google+, it isn’t going to be yanked, but trifurcated.
In other Google news last week, the company unveiled plans for a futuristic redesign of it’s Mountain View campus (see Google reveals plans for futuristic cityscape campus, and new robot tech to make it configurable), and announced the Android for Work initiative is now open for business (see Google announces Android for Work ready to go).