THE FUTURE of Google+ might be in doubt following the surprise departure of Vic Gundotra, architect and executive sponsor at the social network.
In a farewell on the social network, Gundotra paid tribute to his colleagues saying, "This is a group of people who built social at Google against the skepticism of so many. The growth of active users is staggering, and speaks to the work of this team. But it doesn't tell you what kind of people they are. They are invincible dreamers. I love them. And I will miss them dearly."
Gundotra said his departure is immediate and did not talk about his next move.
As a result, rumours have begun circulating that Google plans an overhaul of Google+, moving away from services similar to those offered by Facebook and Twitter, and instead concentrating on aspects such as Hangouts, bringing the fight to Microsoft's Skype.
Google has released a statement denying this however, saying, "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."
This has not stopped unofficial rumours leaking from within the company that despite the confirmation of David Besbris as Gundotra's replacement, a massive reorganisation is underway which will see the 1,000-1,200 staff of Google+ displaced, according to a report at Techcrunch.
Critics of Google+ have consistently argued that Google's aggressive practice of forcing use for key functions of Android, Chrome OS and Google Search itself is intrusive and is manipulated to allow Google to claim the most active social network in the world.
There is speculation that this fast and loose karma may have crashed into Gundotra's dogma.
We've asked Google for further comment. µ