I've only been on Cake a few days and yet it is very obvious that if the Cake culture had been the Google Plus culture in 2011 or earlier that things would have been extremely different. The reason that I use 2011, is that prior to that year, G+ was invite only.
(Side Note: Regrettably many of the accounts that had been somewhat active only 12 months before G+ was opened to the public were already dead on opening day.)
The people on Cake who are "in house" are not just focused on code and on promotion but are also generating interesting content and participating in many of the posts.
The in house people on G+ were more focused on code and product launch and were not really interested in nurturing the user experience during the time it was still an infant or a toddler.
Nurturing is very important to getting a platform to become self sustaining. During the first few months of the Scrivener User community, I had to do a lot of work to produce enough useful content that early adopters would keep coming back. However, if it had not been for some of the people who joined early, the community would still not have prospered. There were several "all stars" (in my opinion) who were so helpful to those who were looking for assistance that the community thrived.
On Cake, there are at least three in house people that "show up" over and over to keep the ball rolling. It is true that G+ had a few staffers assigned to it at first but they did not stick around for very long.
I personally think that G+ as a hub for the rest of Google's services was a great idea. I have a completely different perspective on the tie-in effort from the writer of this smear piece.
Privates do not set policy, Generals do. Trying to undermine the upper echelon's policy is called "mutiny." As they said on the TV show West Wing: "I serve at the pleasure of the President" meaning that Jed Bartlet set the policy and staff did not.