Google launched Google+ also known as Google Plus service in 2011 and became one of most popular social networks on the Internet including Facebook and Twitter. Google+ wasn’t Google’s first venture into social networking. Google had made several attempts to offer a social networking service of some sort like Google Buzz launched in 2010 and it closed the next year or Google Friend Connect launched in 2008 and eventually retired in 2012 and Okrut that didn’t go very well since it was launched in 2004 and eventually being shut down in 2014.
Google+ was initially created as an invitation only system and users were required an invitation to sign up for the service. The demand for accounts was so high and later the service was made opened to everyone. Many Gmail account holders signed for the new social network website. The statistics for the usage of the social network looked very well during its first months.
Why Google is shutting down Google+ social networking website?
Google decided to shut down Google+ for consumers only and will remain available for enterprises because it is better suited as an enterprise product because the strong connection between Google+ and the company’s other services opened up a new wave of opportunities for businesses who were already advertising with Google. There are two reasons of the decision of shutting down Google+.
- Security Issues
Back in October, Google announced that it would shut down its Google+ social network and after it discovered a new bug a software update that impacted approximately had exposed the account information of 500,000 users and approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API. The discovery of the security API bug caused third party apps to get access to user data that were shared with the user, but not marked as public. The user data that could led to being stolen includes name, birthday, gender, nickname and more even if those users had limited access to that information. At that time, Google planned to shut down the social network by August 2019.
“We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced” wrote in a blog post by Google Vice President David Thacker. “No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way,” it added.
Google revealed that it internally found the security bug which was shipped with November update, and was only active for six days (November 7 to November 13). The testing revealed that a Google+ API was not operating as intended, and while the bug has been fixed, it is still investigating in to the details of it.
After fixing the bug a week after it was discovered and found no evidence that anyone took advantage of the API bug and that that any profile data was misused, Google decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs within the next 90 days. It means Google+ for consumers will now go away sometime in April 2019 due to security issues.
- Low Usage and Engagement
Early last year, when Google decided to make design changes, experts were not in favor. At the time, Google also said that Google+ had seen “low usage and engagement,” with over 90 percent of all user sessions lasting 5 seconds or less.
Within two weeks of its launch, Google+ reached 10 million users and grown to 25 million in just over a month. Even if Google was only tracking sign-up numbers, it still appeared like a massive threat to Facebook. However, Google+ received mixed feedback that it became challenging for them to sustain its massive users. Google had tried to make Google+ a unique product but has eventually failed.
After the security issue incident, Google realized the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ service that meets consumers' expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage and engagement of the consumer version of Google+, this led to the decision to shutter the network in August 2019 but decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ to April 2019.
In the coming days, Google will provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data.