Google's been slowly dismantling its struggling social network Google+ for months, and executive Bradley Horowitz just announced another big change: You'll no longer need a Google+ account to use YouTube or any other Google sites.
Essentially, Google's admitting the defeat of one of its original goal of using Google+ to give users one identity across all of its services.
People had long been skeptical of Google's mandatory integration of its social network, feeling like it mainly functioned to help Google get more information on users for ads purposes.
And whenever Google released stats about how many monthly active users Plus had, it felt misleading, since so many people only used Google Plus through other services. Plus was supposed to be Google's launch into social— its answer to Facebook or Twitter — but it never achieved mainstream adoption.
"While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink," Horowitz writes. He adds in a seperate post that the team wants to "formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself."
Moving forward, you'll only need a Google Account — no Google+ profile — to use Google's services.
The dis-integration will start with YouTube. When Google first started forcing YouTube users to have a Google+ account if they wanted to comment on videos or share content, the community was particularly vehement about the requirement. Many hated the fact that it decreased the ability to be anonymous and a rant video about YouTubers hating Google+ racked up more than 3 million views.
Already, people are celebrating this change online:
"As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles," Horowitz writes. "And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles."
Google says that the changes will be rolling out in stages.
"While they won’t happen overnight, they’re right for Google’s users—both the people who are on Google+ every single day, and the people who aren’t."