After a year of speculation, Google has confirmed that will split apart Google+ by pulling core features from the social network and turning them into new products.
Bradley Horowitz, Google's VP of product, revealed the news via Google+: "Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true - I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products! It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users."
By becoming the lead for both new products, Horowitz is essentially taking over David Besbris' duties. He has been in control of Google+ ever since Vic Gundotra left in 2014. It's unclear if Google is therefore planning to shutdown Google+ and axe Besbris or just drastically change the current iteration of Google+ into something else.
Just last week, Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, claimed that Google views Hangouts, Photos, and the Google+ stream as three important areas, and because of that, the company has been working on the "next generation" ideas. Pichai also hinted that Hangouts and Photos would soon become their own thing.
During an interview at MWC, Pichai expanded on those comments by confirming Hangouts will live on: "We're going to put more energy into it. We're seeing good traction there and so we'll work hard to get to the next stage."
We'll likely learn more about what's happening with Google+ at Google I/O in May.