Google To Wind Down Currents, Final Remanent Of Google+

Google has confirmed that Currents (formerly known as Google+) is to be wound down, with Spaces taking its place.

Currents was repurposed for internet enterprise communications, and was/is the last remanent of Google’s failed social networking experiment with Google+.

Google+ had at one stage been intended to rival the mighty Facebook (despite Google’s claims to the contrary) when it was launched in June 2011, replacing its previous incarnation, Google Buzz.

Winding down

Google+ last until 2018 when the search engine giant announced it would sunset Google+ in August 2019 for the consumer market. However it maintained the product for the enterprise sector and renamed it Google Currents.

Now Google in a blog post last week confirmed that it is planning to wind down Google Currents, and instead users will be encouraged to use Spaces, which is a dedicated tool for organising people, topics and projects in Google Workspace.

“With Spaces now available, starting in 2023 we are planning to wind down Google Currents and bring remaining content and communities over to the new Spaces experience,” blogged Google/

“Before we do this, we’ll deliver new capabilities in Spaces to help you communicate and collaborate more effectively, “ it said.

“If your organisation is using Currents, we’ll share a timeline for opting in to data migration and other milestones in the coming months, as well as guidance to assist with the transition,” it added. “Spaces are available to all Google Workspace customers today.”

Spaces is also available users with personal Google Accounts.

Google+: Life and death

The fact that Google is winding down Currents, could be viewed as the final twitch of the long-dead corpse that was Google+ (Google Plus).

When Google+ was launched in 2011, initial customer uptake seemed promising, but the truth was that it never came close to matching the number of users that Facebook enjoyed.

Indeed, as Facebook’s growth continued unchecked, it seemed that Google+ was being quietly retired by the search engine giant, despite a facelift in 2015 as Google sought to shift the focus away from people and more towards personal interests and communities.

The facelift didn’t help and Google+ continued to struggle to attract new users outside of a dedicated fanbase, and in October 2018 Google finally announced it was shutting down Google+ (for consumers) because of low user engagement.

Google at the time of the shuttering announcement, cited the platform’s low usage as the reason for closing down the network, but in reality Google had been in hot water over its decision not to reveal a data breach with Google+ in 2018, that had exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users, to hundreds of third-party app developers.

Even worse, Google did not disclose the breach for months, and US senators asked Google to explain why it had delayed disclosing the vulnerabilities.

Such was the pressure on Google that in December 2018 it announced it was accelerating the “sunsetting” (i.e forced retirement) of Google+, after a fresh bug was uncovered.

Google+ had originally been scheduled for consumer shutdown in August 2019, but that deadline was pushed forward to 2 April 2019.

As was inevitable, Google was sued over the data breach matter in the United States, and in August 2020 Google agreed to a $7.5 million settlement, that would only pay a maximum of $12 per person.

Pay outs began in August 2021 of a very modest $2.15 each (after legal fees etc).

However the four people who brought the legal challenge in the first place reportedly received up to $1,500 each.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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