No report struck a chord so much as the one published by TechCrunch. Co-authors Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino described the network as "walking dead," citing unnamed sources who say the search king is reshuffling resources.
I think that would be an awful idea. Not only is Google+ connected to every Google profile -- and with it, login credentials for every Google service -- but it's also an excellent product. Here are three reasons the company should stick with it:
1. Google+ is a superior video platform. We don't have good data for how popular Google+ Hangouts on Air have become. What we do know is that the search king is always hosting new Hangouts, and that, despite efforts, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has yet to offer an alternative. Also, integrating Google+ and YouTube has made it easy to record an interview and then publish it later -- as I did here.
2. Hundreds of millions are using the network. Roughly 300 million log into Google+ monthly. Nielsen says only a fraction of those users engage, and even then for just a few minutes a month versus hours for Facebook and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). My experience is very different, and judging by the vocal response to a New York Times article declaring the network a "ghost town," I'm hardly alone.
3. The world still needs good tools for reaching niches. In my experience, Google+ circles is the simplest and most effective mechanism for targeting posts. Communities are well organized and easy to find. By contrast, Facebook lacks an intuitive system for targeting what you post or limiting what others see. Twitter, meanwhile, is a largely dumb broadcast network whose only targeting mechanisms are "@" replies and direct messages.
Add it up, and I think it's clear that Google+ has changed social media for the better, and made Google a better company in the process. Do you agree? Leave a comment to let us know where you stand when it comes to Google+, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Google stock at current prices.
Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google (A and C class) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
The Motley Fool recommends Facebook, Google (A and C shares), and Twitter and owns shares of Facebook, Google (A and C class). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.