By Benjamin Snyder
March 2, 2015

Say goodbye to Google Plus as you know it. The search giant confirmed Monday that the social network’s highly-regarded photo app is getting split off from the rest of the service, which will now be called “Streams.”

Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz will head both Google Photos and Streams, he wrote in a Google Plus post: “It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.”

Neither rebranded product’s name references Google’s social network in any way, The Verge points out. That could signal Google Plus is quietly being dismantled after failing to ever truly take off. While there are more than 2 billion Google Plus profiles, that’s mostly a result of Google’s efforts to turn Plus into a sign-in service for other Google products — Business Insider reported in January that just 9% of Google Plus users post public content.

Google SVP of Product Sundar Pichai said at a Mobile World Congress event Monday that Google chat app Hangouts will remain a standalone product.

“For us Google Plus was always two big things: one was building a stream, the second was a social layer, a common layer of identity; how sharing works across our products and services.” Pichai said.

Pichai also confirmed Google’s ambitious plans to launch a mobile network that combines cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, called “Project Nova.”


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