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Close up of computer keyboard showing 'delete' button, symbolising Google+ shutting down

The end of Google+: What exactly does it mean for us?

After 7 years, Google has made the decision to shut down their social network, Google+. This has come as no surprise to many of us as it’s gradually decreased in popularity over the years. However, Google announcing a data breach influenced their decision to shut down the network came as quite a shock.

Why is Google+ shutting down?

Google have recently released a blog post explaining they discovered a bug which allowed third-party developers to access the data of 500,000 people without their authorisation. Whilst there is no evidence that any data has been misused, it’s still very concerning – particularly when it has come from an entity as huge as Google. So, it seemed like the right time for them to shut up shop.

Who will it affect?

There’s no doubt that Google+ has been useful for enterprise customers, as it’s allowed businesses to communicate with their employees in a secure network. However, the results for the consumer version painted a completely different picture.

Google recently disclosed in one of their blog posts that “the consumer version of Google+ has low usage and engagement: 90% of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds”.

The problem they seemed to have was that they never quite clicked with their audience. They showed a huge amount of potential when they first launched, largely because they provided a solution to many problems other social networks seemed to have. For example, the word limit for posts in Google+ is 100,000, which is huge when compared to Facebook and Twitter. The first version even allowed for automatic stream refresh. However, over time many of the features people loved about Google+ were stripped, leading people to go elsewhere.

Although we are saying goodbye to the consumer use of Google+, it may not be the end for its enterprise users. Who knows, maybe Google will create a completely new network designed just for business users.

It’s no surprise that Google+ shutting down is having no sort of drastic effect on many of us, but the fact that it’s actually closing down is quite shocking. If anything, it teaches us to not rely solely on one social media platform for absolutely everything. If a giant like Google can experience data bugs / breaches that could impact thousands of people – prompting the closure of its social media platform – who’s to say it couldn’t happen again to another social network?

When will Google+ completely shut down?

Google has talked about there being a 10-month period during which you can still access the social network, meaning it won’t be completely gone until August 2019. This gives users plenty of time to move over any information they may need onto a different platform.