Google Plus Shut Down: the Rise and Fall of the Social Network
For some time now, Google has been trying to find its own version of Facebook. Following other failed Google social networks like Google Wave and Google Buzz, Google+ is the next in line to go. It is a curious case to examine, the Google Plus shutdown, for marketers and users in general. Can no other social network compete with the all mighty Facebook?
The Rise of Google+
The network was initially launched in 2011 with a heavy amount of users in its first few years. But, it became apparent quickly enough that the large amount of users were not actually “using” the social network, but merely signed in by default.
The Google+ profile was special in many ways. First of all, it was attached to all your other Google platforms so you can update your profile and cover photos through Google Photos and more. You can also express yourself through the basic info and about sections as well as update your status regularly to whatever you care about.
One of the more interesting features was the Circles feature, where you can create a circle of friends to which you can share private content. It basically lets you customize your own Google+ community besides your public one.
Stream was where you can find your updates as well as updates from your Circles and their communities. You can filter your stream to suit your likings in addition to adding to it.
At some point, some Google+ features seemed to outshine Facebook’s, but that wasn’t enough.
Sparks was a feature that lets Google+ users get relevant content to their interests. It was basically a search engine that you attach to your profile, through which you can access all search results and news relating to your pre-defined interests.
Google Hangouts is still a widely used application despite its separation from Google+. This chatting service lets you text, video chat and create group conversations through your Google contacts. Despite the Google Plus shut down, Hangouts remains strong and an ongoing Google win.
The Fall of Google+
Even though, the platform was originally designed to compete with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and such and link to its other products like Gmail and Youtube, it got a lot of push back. Mostly with a lot of privacy issues arising.
One of which is the infamous attempt to boost engagement through users making Youtube comments through their Google+ profiles. This sparked a lot of controversy, especially in the Youtube community where anonymity feels like a right and a part of the platform’s identity.
Although Google seems to be pushing for this trend to die and advocate a more safe and honest interest, the public does not seem to agree. This controversial move created a lot of criticism for Google, including this viral Youtube video.
The attempts didn’t stop there.
Google also tried to link the social network with the Google Play Store, having app reviewers review through their Google+ accounts.
User Data Leaking
Leaking User Data has been a problem for Google+, not once but TWICE.
The first leak appeared to spark up the Google Plus shut down scheduled in August 2019. It was reported that software design faults from Google may have allowed the leaking of Google+ users’ private info. This compromised the data of up to 500k users and Google+ ‘s already shaky situation in the market.
Following this, another leak was reported that apparently gave third-party access to many users’ private data through the Google+ platform. This bug advanced Google+ ‘s shut down forward to April 2019.
If that wasn’t enough, The Wall Street Journal published a shocking report claiming Google failed to disclose leaks, due to fears of “increased regulatory scrutiny”.
Google Plus Shut Down
Why Google Plus Shut Down
In an official statement by Google, the 90% of user sessions on the service lasted less than five seconds, which is perhaps the main cause of the Google+ shut down. If users are not staying, they are not really using.
To put this in perspective, the average time spent by users on Facebook per visit is 20 minutes, according to Zephoria.
In addition, we can deduce that the cause was the many software design flaws that negatively influenced user’s trust in the platform. According to Google, the platform failed to meet their consumers expectations in many regards.
How it’s happening
On the past April 2nd of this year, all Google+ accounts and pages were shut down along with all their data. The Google Plus shut down has been in effect for consumers, however, enterprises can still access the social network for their internal corporate G-Suite users.
But no worries, Google users, all your other Google products are safe; including Gmail, Drive, Youtube, as well as, all your photos and videos as long as they backed up.