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Google is brilliant. They made the best search engine. They made the best email app with Gmail. They made the world’s most popular operating system in Android. And they have plenty of other successful products.

But Google just doesn’t know how to get into social media. The latest Google+ debacle proves it.

Is Google+ Dying? It Seems So

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On Monday, Google announced that Google+ will be delinked from YouTube comments, not even two years after making Google+ mandatory for posting on YouTube YouTube's Comments Section Now Cleaned Up, Courtesy Of Google+ YouTube's Comments Section Now Cleaned Up, Courtesy Of Google+ Google has cleaned up YouTube with a new Google+ powered commenting system. You'll now see the most upvoted comments, the ones from people in your Google+ circles, and from the owner of the video. Read More . The “Googleplusification” of all its products was annoying OK, Google: We Get It. Just Go Ahead And Add Google+ To Everything. [Opinion] OK, Google: We Get It. Just Go Ahead And Add Google+ To Everything. [Opinion] Don't worry Google, I think you can get everyone onto your network in just a few months if you really push. Here are my suggestions. Read More , and we’re glad to see this requirement going away.

This move comes on the heels of delinking Google+ Photos from your images and launching the new Google Photos app. And just last month, Google+ brand posts were removed from Google’s Knowledge Graph. Meanwhile, Twitter made its way into Google Search results after years of Plus-prompted absence.

Along with the delinking from YouTube, Google+ will also delink the Locations feature to track your whereabouts and put it into Hangouts, its awesome chat and messaging app The Best All-In-One Messaging & Calling App For Android: Google Hangouts The Best All-In-One Messaging & Calling App For Android: Google Hangouts What if there was one app that could do it all? Meet Google Hangouts for Android. Read More . This is a small change though, and an understandable one since Hangouts has to compete with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which already have this feature. In everyday usage, your battery life and privacy will be attacked 7 Free Google Services That Cost You Battery Life & Privacy [Android] 7 Free Google Services That Cost You Battery Life & Privacy [Android] A nameless writer once remarked, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” While probably in reference to broadcast television, the saying also applies to Google’s recent introduction of several poorly implemented... Read More just as it was earlier, only this time it will be a different app doing it.

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“We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself,” said Bradley Horowitz, VP, Photos and Streams at Google.

Mashable’s Christina Warren was ready to sound the death knoll for Google+. In her post, she said that as someone who has seen several communities die slowly, this is the end of important new features, bug fixes will be fewer and slower, and the Google+ brand will gradually retire.

“It’s over guys. You can either accept reality now or continue to use a service that, thanks to its official de-coupling – is now seen as truly non-essential to Google. Google will let it exist for only so long, but at a certain point, they will retire it. Google Reader died. This will too,” she wrote.

How People Reacted

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Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer of social media data firm 4C Insights, told The Wall Street Journal that this was a failure of Google’s attempt to muscle its way into becoming a social media giant.

Existing Google+ users don’t seem pleased with the new change either, with some complaining that Google can’t make up its mind about their own social network, while others claim the company doesn’t listen to its loyal users.

On the post announcing the change, user Clare Cosgrove commented, “Google+ has continued to make changes that users didn’t want, ruin things that users are happy with, integrating products that didn’t need to be integrated… There used to be a time when I would sing the praises of Google+ and sell it to people, and now I just find myself feeling helpless and at a loss at how horribly wrong it has all gone. (I still) do not understand why Google continues to blatantly ignore what its users are telling them.”

Google is mistaken in thinking that social is just about making the best product. As we found in our extensive Google+ vs. Facebook shootout The Final Showdown: Google+ vs. Facebook, Which One Is REALLY The Best? The Final Showdown: Google+ vs. Facebook, Which One Is REALLY The Best? Which is better, Facebook or Google+? Even here at MakeUseOf, we can't quite agree. When it comes to social networks, especially big ones like Facebook and Google+, we all have our opinions. Some think Facebook... Read More , Google+ is better than Facebook in most ways. But Facebook is where the people are, and as our reviewer Yaara pointed out, “if you truly want to stay updated and have an audience, you will understandably stick to Facebook.”

All of this points to one thing: Google has no idea how to make it in the world of social media. And history bears witness through some of Google’s greatest social flops.

Google Wave was Ahead of Its Time

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Google Wave sought to reinvent email and change the world 4 Ways Google Failed to Change the World [Opinion] 4 Ways Google Failed to Change the World [Opinion] “We celebrate our failures,” Google’s Eric Schmidt once said. Google’s had some amazing successes that have changed the world, but some of their attempts to do so have failed. With their famous “don’t be evil”... Read More , but it lasted just a little more than a year. Announced in May 2009 in beta and released to the public in May 2010, it stopped development in August 2011, and removed all traces in April 2012. Three years was all Google gave its most ambitious attempt at social. You’ll find several Google Wave fans even today, with some (including this author) arguing that it was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, Google Wave was less of a social network and more of a project management system, but Google never realized that.

Dodgeball, Google’s Greatest Mistake

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Dodgeball was one of Google’s biggest mistakes The Top Ten Dead Google Projects Floating About In Cyberspace The Top Ten Dead Google Projects Floating About In Cyberspace Read More . The app was focussed on location-based social networking. While not made in-house, Google acquired this five-year-old company back in 2005 and then did nothing with it for years. Frustrated with Google, Dodgeball’s co-founder Dennis Crowley quit and went on to develop—you guessed it—FourSquare, the king of check-in tools Check-In Much? 6 Interesting Uses For Your Foursquare Data Check-In Much? 6 Interesting Uses For Your Foursquare Data Foursquare is one of those apps that you either love or hate, and many feel it is just another part of the oversharing culture of our online Instagram, Facebook and Twitter lives, where everything we... Read More . Google then tried to make up for their mistakes with Google Latitude, which was pretty useful How to Trace a Mobile Phone Location With Google Latitude How to Trace a Mobile Phone Location With Google Latitude Read More , but later shut that down too.

A Virtual Avatar with Lively

Second Life is the biggest social network of virtual avatars and Google wanted a piece of that pie. In July 2008, Google launched Lively to give users the chance to create a virtual representation of themselves and hang out with friends in a virtual world. In December 2008, Google shut Lively. Six months. Yup. Well, at least you can still get started with Second Life How to Get Started In Second Life in 10 Easy Steps How to Get Started In Second Life in 10 Easy Steps Read More , which has over a million active users at last count.

The Twitter Competitor, Google Buzz

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In February 2010, Google tried to take on Twitter with its own microblogging tool Google Buzz, going to the extent of integrating it into Gmail. That proved to be a big mistake though. Google would tell Search Engine Land that it “failed to fully appreciate the wide range of differing privacy expectations that Buzz (within Gmail) would confront at launch.” Buzz never took off, and was finally discontinued in December 2011.

Orkut was Big… in Brazil

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Last year, Google finally announced it was shutting down Orkut Google Kills Orkut & Quickoffice, Yahoo Saves Community, And More... [Tech News Digest] Google Kills Orkut & Quickoffice, Yahoo Saves Community, And More... [Tech News Digest] UK cinemas preemptively ban Google Glass, Reading Rainbow breaks Kickstarter popularity contest, Emojli chat app made for emoji masters, 'Yo, Hodor' adds Hodor to Yo, and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare gets an honest trailer. Read More . In case you didn’t know, Orkut was one of the biggest social networks in the world and a rival to Facebook, enjoying an especially big user base in Brazil and India. In fact, Orkut was the only Google-made social network to actually become so big. Forbes says that in July 2009, Orkut had more than 27 million users in Brazil while Facebook had only 4.2 million. Today, Orkut doesn’t exist. Good job, Google. This one tweet sums it up:

Do You Actively Use Google+? Will You Continue To?

Almost every Google user has a Google+ account, but we want to know if you actively use it—posting updates, checking what friends are saying, and so on. More importantly, after the recent signs that Google+ is being separated from the core Google experience, will you continue using it over alternatives like Facebook and Twitter? Why?

Image credits: spooky graveyard via Shutterstock, kropekk_pl/Pixabay, mintchipdesigns/Pixabay, AlternativeTo, TechCrunch

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