Vivek “Vic” Gundotra, the man responsible for Google+, has announced his resignation amid rumours that Google is scaling down its social networking project.
Gundotra’s departure was confirmed by CEO Larry Page in a post on Google+.
“When I first used turn-by-turn navigation, it blew me away. And, walking onto the stage at I/O last year, it was amazing to see developers so excited about Google. These were vintage Vic projects,” said Page. “Then you built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all your hard work and passion.”
Before Google, Gundotra spent 15 years at Microsoft, working with the developer community and shaping the strategy for Windows Live products and services.
In his latest post, Gundotra said a warm farewell to his team: “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.”
The former head of Google+ hasn’t announced what he plans to do next, but according to Re/Code, he will be replaced by David Besbris, the current vice president of Engineering for Google+, having joined the search giant in 2008 after nearly a decade with AOL.
According to Google, by October 2013 its social network had 540 million active users – although most of these likely registered to get access to some of the bundled services and features. For example, it is currently impossible to leave comments on YouTube without a Google+ account.
However, TechCrunch reports that Google is winding down its social network initiative, with some of the employees leaving for other departments. The online publication claims that as part of the staff and policy changes, Google will no longer require users to register Google+ accounts in order to use some of its other services. Google has categorically denied claims made in the report.
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