Google may separate Hangouts, Google+ and Photos

Google is looking to further untangle parts of Google+: The company may separate Photos and Hangouts from Google+, according to statements made by Google’s product czar Sundar Pichai in an interview with Forbes Thursday.

“Increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications [Hangouts], photos and the Google+ stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area,” said Pichai. That’s notably different from [company]Google[/company]’s previous approach: Former Google+ head Vic Gundotra tried to use photos as a way to grow Google+ as a whole, and Hangouts also used to be closely integrated with Google+.

Google+ has always been a bit of a mixed bag for Google. The social network has provided the company with an identity layer across its products, which has arguably helped to improve YouTube and other platforms.

However, the Google+ stream hasn’t exactly been a huge success, something Pichai had to admit in the interview. “We would definitely like to see more scale at what we do,” he said, but added that Google+ has attracted “a passionate community of users,” and that the Google+ team is working on “a few next generation ideas” to bring more users into the fold.