Google's latest decision to drop the requirement of having a Google+ account to be able to use its other products (i.e. YouTube), brought many to the conclusion that this is it for the service. Whether Google would pull the plug on G+ is unclear, yet highly probable. Sadly, this seems like the most logical decision to take. Sadly, because the one thing that Google+ has been good at - building a tight community of avid and outspoken individuals, has never been Google's goal at the onset. It has always been about conquering the masses, and putting a hand on top of Facebook's user empire.
I was one of the avid individuals who believed in Google+, and in one way or another, have remained true to their hearts until this day. Believe it or not, (probably not, but it's true), but if you have been among the first few thousand early adopters of G+, you most probably have become friends with people, who even today, spend a significant part of their daily lives on the service.
90/10 as the new 80/20
Though not a real estimate, let's assume that around 10% of all registered Google+ users are still active. In fact, they are so active that they contribute for around 90% (again, my own estimate) of the daily user activity on Google+. And, by active I mean loyal - posting regularly, talking to each other, giving feedback and advice, etc. In fact, of all social services I have ever been active on (Facebook and Twitter included), the level of engagement in Google+ has always dwarfed the rest by leagues and miles. That is, until recently.
For about a year, I've started seeing a serious outage of G+ activity. And, by that I don't mean that the number of new users, quasi-forced by Google to open a G+ account has declined. No, I mean some serious activity outage by its most loyal users. They are still there, and keep actively posting and talking to each other. Yet, the intensity of the discussions and the feedback, the only two things I kept coming to G+ for, are not there anymore. Long gone are the times when we spent days without an end, commenting on the future and inevitable death of Flash.
The latest feature in Google+ - post collections, is interesting and somewhat useful. However, it too openly admits that G+ has long stopped being the place for posting original content, but rather re-posting and mashing-up content from outside sources. I can see some potential benefit for Google. Content curation is easier than content creation. Using humans to organize pieces of content can also be used for training Google's machine learning intelligence. Though, as I've learned from my own experience building PinApp, curation does not create engagement, the same way as publishing own content does.When the engagement is gone, so will the motivation to keep curating.
I don't think that building a niche service for Facebook-averse, tech-savvy early adopters, has ever been Google's goal for launching G+. Yet, that's what's left of it. A slowly dying kind of it.