Though Google+ will apparently be around “for the long haul,” the social network is still being decoupled from many of Google’s other services. Google+ sign-ins are required to comment on YouTube videos, but use of your real name to create a Google+ account is not.
Businesses using Google Hangouts no longer need to give their users Google+ accounts. Creating a Gmail account no longer requires you to create a Google+ account. Reports suggest that the Google+ Photos service will eventually be separated from Google+ as well.
So even if Google+ itself isn’t actually going away, it’s clear that it’s no longer as central to Google’s product strategy as it once was.