Google kicks Google+ off its homepage

Nothing says you’ve fallen out of favor quite like being banished from the most exclusive and uncluttered piece of real estate on the Internet: the Google search homepage.

It’s been known for some time that Google is at the very least deemphasizing Google+, but perhaps nothing the company has said to date more emphatically confirms this than the recent disappearance of a direct link from Google’s homepage to its long-struggling social media platform, a platform Google originally touted as central to its future. Here’s what I see on Google’s homepage this morning:

060115blog google homepage

There had been a link to Google+ where I’ve placed the circle below:

060115blog google homepage arrow

Today it’s gone. When exactly this happened is unclear, but I know the link was there last week because it has always been my path of choice to Google+.

Now in order to access my Google+ account, I need to first click on the “apps” icon and then choose Google+ from among the likes of YouTube, Google News, Drive and Calendar.

060115blog google homepage dropdown

I contacted Google public relations via email and asked two questions: Why was the link removed and does this mean the end is near for Google+. I received a reply, which by Google PR standards, was remarkably swift:

“To your question on the Google+ link no longer on the homepage - we're simplifying our user interface,” said a spokesperson.

As for this change portending a bleak future for Google+?

“Absolutely not,” said the spokesperson. “We're committed to Google+ and are actively investing in it. As you hopefully saw with the launch of Collections, we are incredibly focused on making it the best place to engage with others around interests and shared passions. Our most engaged Google+ users are connecting over topics ranging from homebrewing to steampunk to tarantulas. And we want to build an even stronger community based around these connections.”

It’s just that they’ll be doing it without a direct connection from Google’s famous search page.

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