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Google looking to split Hangouts and Photos from Google+

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Google is planning to separate its Hangouts and Photos services from its Google+ social network.

In an interview with Forbes, Google's Sundai Pichai spoke about how his team viewed the Google+ service, as well as the perceived stagnation of some of its key features.

"I think 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," he said.

In other words, expect Google's photo-management and communication services to be lifted from its flabby, underpopulated social network in some way. Whether this works out as a literal separation, or just a change in emphasis with Google highlighting Google+'s separate components more, we're not sure at this stage.

In speaking specifically about Hangouts, Pichai revealed that the company would continue to "invest in and evolve" the messaging service, but that the company wasn't concerned with aggressively rivalling the likes of WhatsApp. "Things like WhatsApp are a great example of success that others have had on Android, which we see as welcome innovation on the platform," said Pichai.

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Speaking of Android, Pichai believes that Google's mobile platform is "a thriving, healthy, vibrant ecosystem," and that with sales of a billion Android devices in 2014, "the numbers are very very healthy."

Pichai explained away Apple's recent success with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as evidence of "a growing pie," meaning simply that both platforms had scope to do well.

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