After its second data breach, Google+ is shutting down for good. The recent leak prompted Google execs to fast track the failed social network’s sunsetting.
The breach impacted 52.5 million users and made non-public data available to developers. While Google claims that no third party accessed this and no app devs misused it (or were even aware of the leak), this spelled the end for G+. The company accelerated the shutdown from August 2019 to April 2019.
Why did Google+ fail?
There’s no shortage of outside opinion articles detailing G+’s issues, but a recent tweetstorm contains insider information. A former Google designer, Morgan Knutson, posted more than 200 tweets about the internal trials faced by the struggling social media platform.
Knutson points to several issues in Google’s system. Teams across the company didn’t coordinate on the service’s creation, resulting in miscommunication and mismatched features. The platform didn’t integrate smoothly with the rest of G-Suite, creating issues with user experience. Office politics complicated things even further and prevented progress from being made.
Perhaps most significantly, Google+ was a platform created out of fear. As social media giant Facebook began to pick up speed (and advertising dollars), Google slapped together its own social network to compete. “[We] built the knowledge graph, and Facebook swooped in and built the social graph. If we don’t own the social graph then we can’t claim to have indexed ALL the world’s data,” wrote Knutson, allegedly quoting an executive. This mindset resulted in a product built not from a unique idea, but out of a desire to copy and outrank the competition.
After its launch, the service was plagued with issues, including famously low usage and engagement. The company disclosed in a blog post that 90 percent of G+ user sessions lasted less than five seconds.
The second data breach served as the perfect excuse to bump up the timeline of the service’s demise. After 7 years, the personal version of the platform will be discontinued.
What does that mean for me?
On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any associated pages you created will be shut down. Google plans to then delete content from those consumer accounts.
If you use Google+’s sign-in button to access sites, these buttons will also stop working in the coming weeks. Some of them will be replaced with a standard Google sign-in button, while others will require you to connect another platform to log in.
What do I do now that Google+ is dead?
First, know that the end of Google’s social network won’t affect your local SEO or your ranking online. All you need to do is a bit of spring cleaning. Remove outdated G+ sharing buttons, icons, and links from your website’s blog posts and footer, and make sure it doesn’t appear on any new marketing collateral or eblasts.
Go ahead and delete your profile if you don’t want to wait for Google’s sweep to eliminate it. If you’re worried about losing any old content, you can download data from your profile here.
Enterprise accounts will still remain active, but we recommend that you spend your time growing social followings on Instagram, Facebook, and Google My Business instead.
Rest in peace, Google+.
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