Earlier today longtime Senior Vice President of Engineering and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra made a surprise announcement that he was leaving the company. While there was no hint that anything at Google would be changing other than a possible promotion within the Google+ team to replace Gundotra, TechCrunch is out with a report claiming the executive shift will come alongside big changes for the Google+ service Gundotra helped create.
The report doesn’t offer much in the way of specific changes you can expect, but it does say that Google will be shifting the Google+ team under the Android team and “building “widgets, which take advantage of Google+ as a platform, rather than a focus on G+ as its own integral product.” It also says that Google will no longer require all products have Google+ integration:
As part of these staff changes, the Google Hangouts team will be moving to the Android team, and it’s likely that the photos team will follow, these people said. Basically, talent will be shifting away from the Google+ kingdom and towards Android as a platform, we’re hearing.
This would telegraph a major acceleration of mobile efforts in general, rather than G+. The teams will apparently be building “widgets,” which take advantage of Google+ as a platform, rather than a focus on G+ as its own integral product…One big change for Google+ is that there will no longer be a policy of “required” Google+ integrations for Google products, something that has become de rigueur for most product updates.
While there were no clues that any tension lead to Gundotra leaving, TechCrunch says it’s “heard that there were tensions between Gundotra and others inside the company, especially surrounding the “forced” integrations of Google+ into products like YouTube and Gmail.” Time will tell if the report is accurate and Google is truly scaling back its Google+ efforts, but for now Google is denying the report:
“Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”