Make photos and Hangouts the stars
The wealth of photo features Google+ has baked in for both professionals and Instagram-level amateurs is impressive — this is where the social network shines. People post photos on Facebook, but they're not very high quality. Instagram's editing capabilities are fairly limited compared to what Google+ offers, and Google's privacy settings let you share with specific groups of people. If Google+ can build out a full-fledged social network for real and aspiring photographers, it will have found the niche it needs to succeed.
Last year, Google+ really ramped up its photo efforts, and at the same time launched Hangouts, which combined the messenger and video chats on Google+ with Google Talk. You can access Hangouts from Gmail, from G+, or from the Hangouts apps for iOS and Android, making it a convenient cross-platform way to chat with friends and family. If Google is going to take on Facebook, it might as well do so with messaging, which is a core focus for the big blue app.
Though Gundotra is taking some of the wind from the Google+ sails with his departure, Google's social network doesn't have to collapse. Google just needs to give the people what they want, and what they want is not another Facebook.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.