Last week Vic Gundotra, who heads up Google+, announced he will be leaving the tech giant although he did not disclose his reasons for leaving or where he may be moving to next. As Gundotra has been seen as the driving force behind Google’s foray in to social media it has left many asking what the future of Google+ will be.
Google won’t be making an external hire to replace Gundotra, who left with immediate effect following his announcement, instead his position will be filled by David Besbris who is currently VP of Engineering for them. Who will replace that vacant spot is yet to be revealed. Allegedly Bradley Horowitz, current VP for Product Management, was being considered for Gundotra’s position but was overlooked in favour of Besbris, with suggestions that his future at Google is unclear.
Gundotra has opted not to make public yet what his next move will entail, although his most recent Google+ post hints at something else on the horizon. Entitled ‘And Then’, Gundotra said:
“But, now is the time for a new journey. A continuation. An “and then”. I am excited about what’s next. But this isn’t the day to talk about that. This is a day to celebrate the past 8 years. To cry. And smile. And to look forward to the journey yet to come.”
An even bigger clue that there is a concrete move on the horizon came from app Secret.ly, where an anonymous post announced simply, “Vic Gundotra is interviewing” prior to any official announcements being made.
The industry has latched on to this news as evidence of greater uncertainty and change for Google+. Many believe it will result in a departure of more of the Google+ team and that it will herald a change in direction and strategy for Google+. It’s been mooted that they will steer it less as social media product but as a platform instead, pulling away from being in direct competition with the likes of Facebook and Twitter etc. There’s speculation that it may result in less integration of Google products, especially as there have been issues with YouTube and Google+.
Official reports from Google HQ suggest otherwise however, with CEO Larry Page making it quite clear in a blog post that things will stay as they are:
“Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy – we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”
Watch this space.