Pity Google Plus.

It is the neglected child of the social Web, a network no one wanted and seemingly no one at Google wanted to run. It was shoved down the throat of an unsuspecting Internet, and ever since has been mismanaged into public enemy status. It’s the butt of a million jokes, an inconvenience unleashed to furor, and another failure to add to Google’s ever-growing list of social media misfires.

So after languishing in obsolescence for three years, the network is being quietly dismantled by its creator: Last week Google dropped the requirement for all new Google users to sign up for a Plus account, a policy that was introduced in January 2012. (Though you still need it for some of Google’s social products, like YouTube comments, for example.)

This is after Google stopped forcing users to use real names on the service; after its “father” left Google; after it killed Google Authorship; and after it was reported that the network’s photo service – the only thing people didn’t hate about Google Plus – would be spun off into its own product.

Stripped for parts and left to rot in the Internet junkyard, Google Plus has more or less officially become the ghost town the media has been calling it for years.

The thing is, Google doesn’t care about any of that.

Why should it? The point of Google Plus was never to be a “Facebook killer,” despite what some misguided blog posts postured at its launch.

Google Plus was intended to round up all of the disarrayed data points Google collects about you across all of its services – Google mail, YouTube, news, maps, wherever else – into a single system. And, for the most part, Google has succeeded. Rather than building a great social network for you, Google built a great database for itself. We hate to say it again, but it’s still true: If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.

So what does that leave us from the great Google Plus experiment? A decaying network no one ever cared about, a possible new service that may or may not work out, and further erosion of privacy ceded to an omnipotent power we can’t nor probably would want to live without.

But hey, at least some people still love Google Plus? (Lol ya right.)