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Following confirmation of a shakeup at Google+, Sundar Pichai said today the company was also splitting the social networking service into two pieces.

In an interview on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Pichai, senior vice president for products at Google, said the company had viewed Google+ as having two main components: a stream of activity and a social layer.

The social layer, for Google, was really about how people shared items across its various services, from YouTube to Google Docs. The company plans to peel that off and focus on it even more, though Pichai did not offer a lot of details on that.

For the stream, however, Pichai said the real value for people has been photos. And so the company is going to put a renewed focus on photos, also separating that into its own product.

“Photos are a big use case,” Pichai said. “So we are going to say this is the stream now.”

Google Hangouts will also be separated out and getting additional investment and resources from the company, Pichai said.

Pichai didn’t offer a timetable for the changes, nor did he say directly that Google would kill the activity stream on Google+, but that seems entirely likely.

Earlier today, Google exec Bradley Horowitz confirmed reports that he had been placed in charge of Google+. In his post, he also referenced the coming changes.

“Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true — I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products!” Horowitz wrote. “It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.”


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