Currently you need Google+ to have access to the other products but that could change soon. "I think increasingly you'll see us focus on communications [Hangouts], photos, and the Google+ stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area," Pichai noted.
Hangouts, which allows users to chat, video chat and send photos, is popular among Gmail and Android fans but has nowhere near the popularity of WhatsApp or even Facebook's own Messenger service. That's okay, says Pichai: "Things like WhatsApp are a great example of success that others have had on Android, which we see as welcome innovation on the platform. In the aggregate, we also care about building great services for people. At that level, we view communications as an important area. But that doesn't mean the answer is always a vertical service. We do have products like Hangouts which we will invest in and evolve. But we also care about the platform in these areas, how we evolve the platform so we support others to do these innovations as well."
Google has been slowly but surely lifting its ecosystem's reliance on Google+, which was first marketed as a centerpiece for the whole Google relationship but has subtly disappeared over time.
Written by: Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Feb 2015 23:04