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Google+ Shutingdown

On October 8th, an article on the New York Times website reported that Google had announced the shutdown of the consumer portion of the Google Plus service. Introduced in 2011 as a social media competitor to Facebook, Google Plus acted as a link between Google’s services. Despite strong efforts to encourage use of the service, which included requiring YouTube users to link to a Google Plus account, the service remained little more than a means to link services for the majority of users.

I maintained a Google Plus profile, however I never considered the service to hold any benefits to my work that were not already covered by LinkedIn, and I was not looking for a Facebook alternative; mainly because I did not use Facebook as a resource for my business efforts.

Who used Google+?

According to some of the user comments on the NYT article, the main users of the Google Plus service were photography groups; who used the service to share images and tips. Other commentators mention having used Google Plus as a place to build personal family websites that they had thought would last long after they passed away (if not forever).

The service seemed to appeal mostly to those who wanted to share a web presence with a small group of friends and family, something that people say they just could not do with Facebook. Some users have even started a petition to try to convince Google to give the consumer version of the service another chance.

Why is Google shutting the consumer side of the service down?

According to a post in the Safety and Security category of the Google Technology blog, at the beginning of 2018, Google conducted a “root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access.” Among the findings of the review were two factors that led to the decision to “sunset” consumer level Google+:

Finding 1: There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations. 

Action 1: We are shutting down Google+ for consumers.

In the statement on the Safety and Security post, Google said:

This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.

The consumer version of Google Plus shows that 90% of those who use the service spend less than five seconds in sessions when using the service, making it impractical to keep going. 

The consumer version of Google Plus will shut down in August 2019, but Google intends to continue the version built for consumers.

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