Google+ Circles Around To The End Of The Beginning

Google+ will forever be the redheaded stepchild of social media. Tales of ghost towns, many employees not even using it, and a serious lack of communication, have done little in removing the stigma. On March 1st, it was announced that Bradley Horowitz, former Google VP of Product Management, would be taking the place of Dave Besbris, who's been at the head since Vic Gundotra left Google back in April 2014.

However, an ordinary leadership change wasn't the only announcement. Photos are being split from Google+, and the social networking aspect itself is being referred to as "Streams." Obviously, this leads many to assume that this is the beginning of the end for the little social network that could.

To that, I say this is the end of the beginning. When Google+ first came onto the scene in June 2011, it was quickly labeled a Facebook clone. If journalists and reporters had been a little more observant, they might have noticed it was actually a clone of Diaspora:

But that's water under the bridge. Over the years, it's helped to shape some pretty big breakthroughs for technology in general. Free group video chats that put Skype to shame, animated GIF support, brilliantly fluid mobile design, Auto Awesome, where a series of photos or videos would automatically be grouped together, and Auto Backup, where as long as you allow photos to be scaled back to 2048 pixels, you never have to worry about it adding to your Drive storage.

Hangouts is one of the shining stars directly out of Google+, and with Google Voice integration finally being added not too long ago, it's a powerful messaging app. You see, Google+ wasn't so much the big G's answer to Facebook. It was Google's answer to having a community of people shape and guide their next generation of products.

Things are changing. They always are. May the "Streams" live on, and the great memories and amazing people many of us have met thanks to Google+, extend beyond that.

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