Re/code has posted an interview with Google’s ‘new’ head of social at the company, David Besbris, after taking over from Vic Gundotra. The interview ranges in scope, but most notably it opens with a direct question about the future of Google+ with many rumors circulating that Google intends to kill off the ‘failure’.
Unsurprisingly, Besbris denies the claims and says that Google made a long-term bet. It has no intentions to drop Google+ from its offerings.
Is Google+ going away anytime soon?
We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it. The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.
The interview also touches on the sensitive topic of advertising. Besbris says that Google+ ads are not to be ruled out from the future, but he doesn’t seem them as ‘valuable’. With Google+, Besbris would only want to show ads where they are contextually appropriate.
If you’re searching for something and see an ad unit that pops up that is helpful [so you can] actually go buy the thing that you’re looking for. If you’re looking at pictures of your kids or you get an ad for a mobile home just because you happened to drive by a mobile home park, I don’t think that’s useful. Context is the thing that matters the most.
On recent cliches, Besbris says that ephemeral messaging probably isn’t destined for Google+. he says that social is such that communities form around different products, and instant ‘delete-in-seconds’ communication would not appeal to the dedicated Google+ community. Therefore, he says that whilst Google may make ephemeral messaging products, he does not seem keen on lumping all of these features into Google+ itself.
The interview ends with a recap on Google’s vision for its social efforts. Besbris says that they are in social “for the long haul”. Just like a different department of Google, understanding social is vital to the future. Besbris says that as people are social creatures (“they want to share things, they want to learn from each other, they want to ask questions.”), the company should be able to cater to that side of a person. “That’s really important for us as a company how we can deliver on that.”