Google+ is not a social network, says Google exec
Gundotra views Google+ as a Google 'upgrade,' and more than just a Facebook rival
Now this might be confusing to the 150 million people who actively use Google+ every month. They catch up with colleagues and friends on Google+ Circles. They chat with family members in Google+ Hangouts. They post photos. They watch videos.
So aren't those the things you do on a social network? Google has other thoughts on this.
According to a report from Mashable, Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of social business, and Bradley Horowitz, Google+'s vice president of product, said Google+ may be social, but it's more than that. Instead of a social network, Google+ is an upgrade to all Google products.
"Google+ is just an upgrade to Google," Gundotra told Mashable. "People have a hard time understanding that. I think they like to compare us with other social competitors, and they see us through that lens instead of really seeing what's happening: Google is taking its amazing products, and by bringing them together, they just become more awesome."
Google declined to comment. The company has been saying since last fall that Google+ will be woven into all of its products.
Speaking on an earnings call last October, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said he wants to "transform the overall Google experience" with Google+.
"This means baking identity and sharing into all of our products so that we build a real relationship with our users," Page added. "Sharing on the Web will be like sharing in real life across all your stuff."
While Google+ is expected to be used across Google's product portfolio, does that mean it's still not a social network?
No, not at all, according to Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group.
"This is a great example of moving the goal posts while the football is in the air," Olds said. "Google didn't do much to scotch these comparisons when Google+ was being rolled out, but now, a year later, Google+ suddenly isn't like Facebook at all? It's major-league and masterful spin, but I don't think it holds water."
He added that just because Google+ is being integrated across product lines, that doesn't change what it is at its core.
"It's still a social network at heart," said Olds. "Google+ is still a service that gives users a chance to share and connect with others, and that's what social networks do. If you take the social networking out of Google+, then it's just a console, right?"
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