google-plus1Could there be a breakup in the arena of Google+?  There certainly could be, since Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai gave the his clearest signal yet that Google could very well seperate Google+ into different components: Hangouts, photos and the social stream.

“I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area,” Pichai said during an in-depth interview with Forbes published today.

Does this mean there will be a real break up of the Google+ that we know of, but Pichai had the above answer to the question, “Should we expect Google+ to remain as one big product?”

Ever since last April when Vic Gundotra, the network’s founding father, left the company, Google+’s status as one big product came under question, and speculation began circulating that Google+ might fade out.  There was evidence that something was up when the company stopped reporting figures for active use of the social stream in October of 2013, but continued to say that Google+ was thriving.

Pichai emphasized that Google+ has been very valuable for Google:

“Google+ has always meant two things for us. There’s the stream in the product that you see. And for us, Google+ was also a way by which Google after many years, we made sure there’s common

[login and] identity across our products. The second part was in many ways even more important than the first part. That part has worked really well for us. In terms of the stream itself, based on the stats we see, we have a passionate community of users. We would definitely like to see more scale at what we do. The team is working on a few next generation ideas. But to us these are two different things, and I don’t think we have always done a good job of explaining that.”

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