Posted on April 2, 2019 by staff

The end of Google+ finally arrives


Google’s social media platform Google+ has been officially closed.

Launched in 2011 and competing with Facebook and Twitter, it was Google’s fourth attempt at a social network.

It allowed users to operate a Facebook-style network with friends and colleagues and could sort them into ‘circles’ to organise group chats and video calls.

The site failed to pick up and analytics ran dry by the end of its first year, but Google has only decided to close the platform as of today following data breaches last year.

In 2018, it admitted bugs in its software meant the private information of up to 52 million members had been accessible by third-party developers.

“The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement – 90 per cent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” Google said in a blog.

Although the site boasted millions of sign-ups within the first few weeks of its launch, new users were quickly faced with a very empty feed and few features.

Google integrated the platform with Gmail before merging with YouTube: this meant anyone who wanted to comment on videos had to have a Google+ account.

The platform failed to win people over, even after pushing it upon the thriving YouTube community, as the move attracted fury from prominent video-makers who felt their success was being used to prop up the struggling network.

In April 2014, the founder of Google+, Vic Gundotra, left the company and changes came swiftly, as successful features such as Hangouts and Photos were separated from Google+ and run as independent services.

Google started to disentangle Google+ from its apps such as YouTube and Google Play and had a makeover in 2015, designed to focus on “communities” – but this also failed to ignite interest in the platform.

In the end, it was the discovery of two data breaches that spurred Google to close the platform and it admitted that few users were ever using it.

“Google+ was destined to fail from day one,” said Matt Navarra, social media consultant.

“Issues with an unwieldy and changeable UI [user interface], being the latecomer versus giants like Facebook, a disjointed user experience, and rumours of internal disagreements about how Google+ would be leveraged all affected the platform,” he said.

Google+ has now been commemorated on the Google Cemetery website, which keeps a record of the search giant’s failed projects.

The site was created by Naeem Nur “to make my friends keep on working on their new ideas, even if they fail”.