Google Pulling Back on Social Network as Key User Gateway

Google Inc. is limiting the reach of its social network, planning to make it simpler to log into the company’s many Web services without Google+.

The company will soon let users sign into a basic Google account when accessing services across its product lineup -- instead of having to join the social-networking tool, Bradley Horowitz, vice president, said Monday in a blog. Video-sharing service YouTube will be one of the first to enable consumers to make the switch. In the coming weeks, visitors will be able to comment, upload a clip or create a channel without a Google+ profile.

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life,” Horowitz said. “While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink.”

The search giant, which introduced the social service in 2011, is pulling back the Google+ feature after it failed to slow the growth of rival Facebook Inc. The company is moving some features from the tool to make it more focused, including some of the photo options.

“We’ll also move some features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience out of Google+,” Horowitz said.

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