Following Google’s announcement last Monday, YouTube users no longer need a Google+ account, another step in vetting the distended social network. In the coming months, Google will disconnect Google+ from all of its other channels, making the brand-name social network simply one thing: a social network.
Google announced these changes because they feel that it is time to “formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.” Makes sense. The company wants its users to remember that Google+ is not just an adjunct—an annoying obstacle to setting up other accounts with Google—and actually a social network where people can connect and interact.
Unfortunately for Google, the above statement does not reflect the realities that Google+ offers. Few people use the network for that purpose at all, and the only reason why it is considered one of the big four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+) is because to have any sort of account through Google, the user had to first make a Google+ account. Coupled with the fact that many users have long suspected that the site exists solely to read their personal information and sell it to advertisers, it is understandable that most people view all the convolutions of Google+ as a detestable apparatus.
As of now, Google+ is not incredibly unique and offers no special pull to potential users, save that they are required to make an account to use many popular components of the Google world. As Google gradually lifts membership requirements, will the site see a sharp drop in users? Possibly so. Right now, Google+ is an empty frame. If it wishes to thrive in the future, it must innovate and offer its customers something both appealing and unique.
See Business Insider for more details.