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Now this might be confusing to the 150 million people who actively use Google+ every month. They catch up with colleagues and friends on Google+ Circles. They chat with family members in Google+ Hangouts. They post photos. They watch videos.
So aren't those the things you do on a social network? Google has other thoughts on this.
According to a report from Mashable, Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of social business, and Bradley Horowitz, Google+'s vice president of product, said Google+ may be social, but it's more than that. Instead of a social network, Google+ is an upgrade to all Google products.
"Google+ is just an upgrade to Google," Gundotra told Mashable. "People have a hard time understanding that. I think they like to compare us with other social competitors, and they see us through that lens instead of really seeing what's happening: Google is taking its amazing products, and by bringing them together, they just become more awesome."
Google declined to comment. The company has been saying since last fall that Google+ will be woven into all of its products.
Speaking on an earnings call last October, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said he wants to "transform the overall Google experience" with Google+.
"This means baking identity and sharing into all of our products so that we build a real relationship with our users," Page added. "Sharing on the Web will be like sharing in real life across all your stuff."
While Google+ is expected to be used across Google's product portfolio, does that mean it's still not a social network?
No, not at all, according to Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group.
"This is a great example of moving the goal posts while the football is in the air," Olds said. "Google didn't do much to scotch these comparisons when Google+ was being rolled out, but now, a year later, Google+ suddenly isn't like Facebook at all? It's major-league and masterful spin, but I don't think it holds water."
He added that just because Google+ is being integrated across product lines, that doesn't change what it is at its core.
"It's still a social network at heart," said Olds. "Google+ is still a service that gives users a chance to share and connect with others, and that's what social networks do. If you take the social networking out of Google+, then it's just a console, right?"
However, Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner, pointed out that Google has never come out and said that it's focused on competing with Facebook.
"I think the sentiment over the statement is correct," he added. "They may not be competing over a social network as a pillar of a business, but certainly they are competing for consumer mindshare on technologies like search, location and mobile."
Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.