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Google+ Gets a Pinterest-Like Makeover

Google is rolling out Collections, a new sharing feature to bring Web users back to its beleaguered social network.

It’s not dead yet. Google+, the search giant’s fledgling social network, is rolling out a new feature, called Collections, that lets users post and package photos, videos and links around particular topics. Followers can see the public posts in the Google+ stream or curate them selectively. Early testers have formed groups around make-up tips, video games and Steampunk.

Oh, and it looks quite a bit like Pinterest.*

Google has struggled to breathe life into its social product, which has fallen very short of Facebook in dedicated users. Since the departure of its creator, Vic Gundotra, in April 2014, Google has moved the social network to reside within its broader communications products and shot down repeated rumors that it’s putting Google+ to rest. In October 2013, Google claimed 300 million monthly active users. It has not updated the number since.

With the product’s latest facelift, Google is trying to turn its many dormant users active. And it’s an opportunity for Google to rake in more intel on shared photo and video information.

Google+ Collections
Google+ Collections

It may also be a hedge against Pinterest. Lately, the platform has ventured more into Google’s primary turf — search — and earlier today introduced a developer API. Pinterest is among a handful of companies threatening to siphon off search dollars from Google, particularly on mobile. In its unveiling of Collections, Google is focused on its mobile look.

Collections capstones a tumultuous year for Google+ since the departure of Gundotra. His replacement, David Besbris, lasted less than a year at the product’s helm. In March, Bradley Horowitz, a Google+ product VP and Gundotra’s lieutenant, took charge of the network along with Photos.

* Pinterest executive Joanne Bradford is an independent board member of Re/code’s parent company Revere Digital, but has no involvement in our editorial process.

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