While it's a social network, Google+ is also a tool that CEO Larry Page has said right along that he wants to use to integrate the company's different services -- from Gmail to its Google Apps cloud-based office suite.
Integrating Google+ into other Google services would embed identity and sharing into all of the company's products, transforming the Google experience and providing information on what its users want, when they want it.
That leads Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, to believe that Google+ isn't going anywhere, and that Google may be taking a moment to consider how to proceed with it.
"I don't think they want to lead with Google+ as a property," Moorhead added. "They want it to operate in the background for right now. This could be because of a strategic decision or they are simply rethinking what to do with Google+."
Google executives might have acknowledged that they can't win a head-to-head competition with Facebook or Twitter, so they want to focus on using Google+ to share data and information across Google properties.
It also could be that Google, and David Besbris, the new head of Google+, need time to figure out how better to take on their social rivals.
"I think Google has tied so many other things to it, they won't let it die," said Gottheil. "It makes sense for emails, files, chats, etc., to be tied to Google+ circles. Sometimes you need to rethink things before you disseminate them."
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