The shutdown of Google’s failed Facebook alternative, Google+, is to begin within days the search engine giant has announced.
From 4 February, users will be unable to create new content, and the consumer facing version is slated for a full shutdown on 2 April.
Google had announced in October 2018 that it was shutting down Google+ (for consumers) because of low user engagement.
The firm cited the platform’s low usage, but in reality Google had been in hot water over its decision not to reveal a data breach in Google+ that exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users, to hundreds of third-party app developers.
And then in December Google said it was accelerating the “sunsetting” (i.e forced retirement) of its Google+ social network after the discovery of a fresh bug.
Google+ had originally been scheduled to be shutdown for consumers in August 2019, so consumers had less than a year to download and save any data they want to retain.
But now this deadline was been bumped up to April 2019. Specifically 2 April 2019.
And now in a new blog post, Google has warned users that they have just days left if they want to post any new content.
“From as early as 4 February, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events,” said the firm.
“While this process of deleting consumer content will take a few months and some content may remain visible during this time, you should take action before April to ensure you don’t lose any content you want to save,” Google warned.
“Starting April 2, 2019, we will shut down your Google+ account and any pages you created, and we’ll begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts,” Google stated. “Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. If you have Google+ content that you would like to save, you must do so before April 2nd.”
Google provided instructions here on how users can save and download their content.
But it should be remembered that Google will keep Google+ going (at least for now) for enterprise users.
“While we bring consumer Google+ to a close, we are continuing our investment in Google+ for the enterprise,” the firm said. “This means that for those of you who use Google+ as part of G Suite, your accounts will remain active. G Suite users include businesses who pay for its services and educational institutions and other organisations that use G Suite at no cost.”
Google also said that it is hutting down all Google+ APIs, including Google+ Sign-in, and developers and users may start to notice “intermittent API failures.”
Google also sought to thank all its users over the years.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Google+ users who’ve built their communities with us over the years,” said the firm. “We appreciate what you’ve created and your contributions.”
It should be remembered that Google+ was intended to be a rival to the mighty Facebook (despite Google’s claims to the contrary).
The Google+ arrival saw it replace its previous incarnation, namely Google Buzz.
Indeed, as Facebook’s growth continued unchecked over the years, it seemed that Google+ was being quietly retired by the search engine giant.
Matters were not helped when Vivek “Vic” Gundotra, the man responsible for Google+, resigned in April 2014 amid rumours that Google was scaling down its social networking project.
Google had also angered many users when it integrated YouTube accounts with Google+. It later reserved that decision.
But the search engine gave Google+ a facelift in 2015 as the firm sought to continue shifting its focus away from people and more towards personal interests and communities.
Yet despite that, Google+ struggled to attract new users outside of a dedicated fanbase, making its decision to pull the plug on the consumer version an easy one to make.
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