SAN FRANCISCO - The executive credited with bringing the Google+ social network to life is leaving the Internet colossus after playing a key role there for nearly eight years.
Vic Gundotra announced Thursday his departure in a post on his Google+ page, saying that he was looking forward to a "journey yet to come" and not revealing his reasons for leaving.
Along with being in charge of the Google social network launched in a challenge to Facebook, Gundotra is known for his work with independent developers whose "apps" are vital to the popularity of smartphones and tablets powered by Android software.
"I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google," Gundotra said, specifically praising the leadership of co-founder and chief Larry Page.
Gundotra worked for more that a decade at Microsoft before becoming a high-profile executive at Google.
His responsibilities included handling relationships with outside developers and shepherding in mobile products such as turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps.
"You cut your teeth on our mobile apps and developer relations, turning our disparate efforts into something great," Page said of Gundotra in a post at his own Google+ page.
"Then you built Google+ from nothing."
Page described Google's enthusiastically attended annual developers' conference in San Francisco as among "vintage Vic projects."
It remained to be seen what Gundotra's departure will mean to Google+, which remains in the shadow of Facebook.
"This is a group of people who built social at Google against the skepticism of so many," Gundotra said of the Google+ team.
"They are invincible dreamers. I love them. And I will miss them dearly."