Google Plus is officially backing down as a rival to Facebook.
On Monday, the search engine giant said YouTube and Google Plus would no longer be connected, and users no longer had to have a Google Plus profile to access other Google features.
“This was a well-intentioned goal, but as realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing,” said Bradley Horowitz, vice president of Google’s streams, photos and sharing.
Horowitz explained in a Google blog post how Google Plus will now function:
Google+ is quickly becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them. In line with that focus, we’re continuing to add new features like Google+ Collections, where you can share and enjoy posts organized by the topics you care about. At the same time, we’ll also move some features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience out of Google+. 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+.
Though the announcement makes clear that Google Plus is not the dominating force some thought it would be, Horowitz said in May that the social media platform is not dead.
Twitter’s growth and new marketing tool
While Google Plus is shrinking, Twitter is finally growing.
The social media platform rose from 20th place in comScore’s May ratings of digital media services to 12th place in comScore’s June ratings. According to the report, Twitter had roughly 11 million more unique visitors in June than it had in May.
It’s good news for Twitter, which has been struggling to make investors happy with revenue and user growth. Dick Costolo stepped down as the organization’s CEO in June; its former head of communications, Gabriel Stricker, left the company a few weeks later.
Along with executive changes, the social media platform has introduced a feature aimed at helping marketers reach consumers who are tweeting about live events.
The event-targeting feature offers marketing pros a calendar highlighting major global sporting, television, music and political events, along with holidays and festivals.
Along with this calendar, marketers can see insights and data on how past events have performed on Twitter, then use tools that target campaigns to reach specific audiences based on gender, language and devices used to access Twitter.
If Twitter can continue to add users to its platform, the feature may become invaluable to brand managers launching real-time marketing campaigns.
Snapchat’s growth outnumbers all
Google Plus is shrinking and Twitter is growing, but a recent infographic from WebpageFX shows that Snapchat is the fastest-growing social network, outpacing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
According to the infographic, Snapchat’s user numbers grew 57 percent in 2014, and currently the app has roughly 200 million monthly active users sending 400 million snaps each day.