Yonatan Zunger puts Google+ "Walking Dead" rumors to rest

Vic Gundotra's announcement that he is leaving Google has spurred rumors that Google+ could be "walking dead." Yonatan Zunger has spoken out to put that to rest.

After yesterday's announcement from +Vic Gundotra that he is leaving Google, there have been rumors flying about the future of Google+. One TechCrunch article in particular went viral, claiming that Google was dramatically downsizing Google+ and relocating some 1,000 employees to the Android platform. According to +Yonatan Zunger, Google+’s Chief Architect, that information is “BS.”
Yonatan Zunger says the "walking dead" rumors are wrong.
Replying to a post by +Francine Hardaway, Zunger confirmed that “Google+ isn’t going anywhere, I can promise you.” He also wrote in a Google+ post that despite the transition of leadership from Gundotra to former VP of Engineering +Dave Besbris, the Google+ team is “maintaining core continuity.” This would line up with the statements in the article from Google’s own PR staff, which deny TechCrunch’s claims completely.

The article, which describes Google+ as “walking dead” without leadership or resources, said that opposition towards “forced” integration with other Google products, and Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, have caused Google to essentially give up on “Gundotra’s grand experiment.” It said that many employees working on Google+ had been transferred to a new building in the Googleplex, where they would be working on “widgets” and gearing Hangouts and Photos as Android-centric services.

This, of course, is despite the fact that Google has spent a significant amount of time making their services highly functional on other platforms, like adding a robust photo editor on the web and a plethora of new features in Hangouts for iOS.

Google employees, however, seem confident that Besbris will continue to make Google+ a high priority. In fact, Google CEO +Larry Page himself commented on Gundotra’s farewell post to say that the Google+ team will “continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans.”

Ultimately, it’s up to you as a reader to choose who to believe: Google employees or TechCrunch’s unnamed sources.

It may be worth noting that one of the authors, +Alexia Tsotsisowns shares in Facebook, Yahoo!, and Twitter, while the other, +Matthew Panzarino, is described in his TechCrunch bio as “relentlessly covering Apple and Twitter.” This does not explain their information or sources, but it could be partly why they closed the article by comparing Google+ to an “unwelcome hairy spider” whose integration is a form of “grating party crashing.” Either way, it certainly draws their credibility into question.

In essence, it’s probably safe to say that these rumors are nothing but hot air. However, that doesn’t mean that the changing of the guard won’t lead to some dramatically new changes to Google+ in the long term, just that it will continue to be central to Google’s plans for a long time to come.

What do you think is in store for Google+ under new leadership? Share your ideas and speculation in the comments section below!
Thanks for the tip +Prashanth Reddy!