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Google reveals its future plans for failed Google+

Since the beginning, Google+ has been seen as a mess. It has been dismissed as the social network for people who don’t actually like to be very social, and Google is only too aware that it needs to step up its game.

You may well have wondered if the company knew what it was doing… today Google shares details of what it has planned.

Several months ago, Google announced that it was going to split up Google+ into a number of separate projects - Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. We've already seen the arrival of Google Photos to replace Google+ Photos (you keeping up?) and now, as well as admitting that it made mistakes, Google gives a taste of what’s to come in the months ahead.

The company says that "while we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we've needed to rethink". But what does this mean? What is promised is a 'more focused' Google+, and this means chopping Google+ out of other Google services.

In future you will be able to use a standard Google account rather than a Google+ profile as your online identity. Current Google+ features will also migrate into other products.

Google says (opens in new tab):

For example, many elements of Google+ Photos have been moved into the new Google Photos app, and we're well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs. We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.

What does this mean? An important difference is the fact that, unlike Google+ profiles, Google Account profiles are private and unsearchable. But it doesn’t end there.

Starting today, there are also important changes to commenting on YouTube - something which has already proved controversial. There is one key change (opens in new tab) that is likely to divide opinion:

The comments you make on YouTube will now appear only on YouTube, not also on Google+. And vice-versa. This starts rolling out today.

Further down the line the requirement to have a Google+ profile (opens in new tab) to create a channel, post a comment, or upload a video will be dropped. Ultimately, you'll be able to delete your Google+ profile completely...but:

If you want to remove your Google+ profile, you’ll be able to do this in the coming months, but do not do it now or you’ll delete your YouTube channel

You have been warned!