Sad news for the four people who still use Google Plus (or Google+, if you fancy): the social media platform will be shutting down in August 2019.
Google confirmed the news in a blog post after revealing that they had found some security flaws in Google Plus that potentially put users’ data at risk, though they did not report it at all, which is a bit questionable. The euthanisation will be as part of Google Strobe, which is an initiative to make Google branded apps more secure.
“Over the years we’ve received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+. So as part of Project Strobe, one of our first priorities was to closely review all the APIs associated with Google+.
“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+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
You’d have to think those five seconds come exclusively from people winding up on their profiles through Gmail by pure accident and trying desperately to escape the bland hellscape.
“The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
That “sunsetting” refers to the complete shut down of Google Plus, which will arrive in August 2019. Users will be able to download their data in advance with Google set to announce in the coming months the next steps.
I have a long history with Google Plus. As a “retired” SEO (read: someone who uses SEO but no longer obsesses over the ranking of “pipe tobacco” in the SERPs or by stuffing keywords in feeder sites), it was once seen as the Golden Goose with authorship markup and integration with business pages apparently helping your rankings. Perhaps that’s where Google Plus truly went wrong, that it was always more appealing to the business over the consumer.
Or maybe it’s just because it wasn’t very good. Rest in peace, Google Plus: we hardly used you.