The demise of Google+
Google+ is slated for the dustbins of digital history, and not a minute too soon. Unlike Myspace, which languishes on to this day after being overtaken by Facebook, Google+ faces a clean end point – one that should have come years ago. By the end of August 2019, Google parent company Alphabet will officially shutter its underachieving social networking platform.
Most of the non-IT world has long looked forward to the event, if we thought about Google+ at all. So why now? As you’ve probably heard, the company discovered a bug that left user data exposed. The vulnerability doesn’t seem to pose a critical threat; Google says:
“This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. (See the full list on our developer site.) It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.”
The company patched the vulnerability and claims there’s no indication that outside developers or hackers knew about the glitch, or that anyone misused the exposed data. Still, it’s not good news and users are rightfully annoyed by the flaw as well as by Google’s decision not to make it public back in March, when their developers first noticed it.
Rather than take the public relations hit to an already moribund platform, the company chose to reveal the issue while announcing an end to Google+. While the strategy somewhat diminishes their rightful resentment, users whose personal data may have been exposed remain far from gruntled.
But what if your firm uses Google+ as an internal communications tool? Not to worry – that product will remain active. Only the public network is marked for demolition. And the many firms that dutifully maintain a public profile on the platform as part of their social media strategy can heave a grateful sigh of relief, soon to be free of the obligation to please Google by playing with its least popular toy.
These firms will be joined by thousands of halfhearted users who can now toss away the guilt surrounding that long-neglected G+ profile and focus their social media minutes on the oodles of platforms that do create buzz and enthusiasm: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and all the rest. Only the handful of serious, regular Google+ users will mourn its demise. We sympathize with their sense of loss, but carry on bravely while secretly thinking, “Good riddance!”