Google+ to Shut Down After a History of Low Engagement and Privacy Breaches
In October, Google announced the sunsetting of its Google+ product after investigation findings revealed significant challenges in meeting consumer expectations. While this decision made waves in the digital marketing community, it’s not entirely surprising. From the beginning, the platform struggled to keep up with social media powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter. According to 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.” – Ben Smith, Google Fellow and Vice President of Engineering
But low engagement is far from the platform’s only pitfall. Security is also cause for concern. In fact, an expose published by the Wall Street Journal indicated that 500,000 users have had their data improperly exposed for close to three years. To add insult to injury, Google openly admitted that it knew about the security leak back in March 2018, but never informed the public.
While Google+ was slated to shut down in August 2019, the date has been moved up following another massive security breach in November. This most recent bug affected 52.5 million users and made private profile information available to third-party apps. As a result, the platform is shutting down sooner than expected. Currently, the platform is scheduled to shut down in April 2019 instead of August, as was originally intended.
What Small Businesses Need to Know:
You have until April to back up the content you’ve published to your Google+ account. In the coming months, Google will provide more specific instructions for downloading and migrating your files. Until then, here are a few things you can do to prepare:
- Remove Google+ share/follow buttons from your website and blog
- Anticipate phasing out social activity on Google+, like content curating and commenting
- If you run a Google+ community, start looking for another platform to host it.
Since the announcement, Google has started notifying its users about the change to give them plenty of time to transition off the platform. So, keep an eye out for updates in this unfolding process.