Was this destined to happen? Here is how Google Plus has met the fate of its predecessor, Orkut.
“WE ARE SHUTTING DOWN GOOGLE+ FOR CONSUMERS”
This is how Google announced to shut its social media platform, Google Plus.
Once supposed to be a big challenge for Facebook, Google Plus can be history any time over the next ten months. Google has cited low engagement and dropping customer rate for the winding up of Google+.
However, several sources believe that security vulnerability prompted the search engine for this step.
Whatever the reason, its eight year long run has never been smooth amidst the resounding success of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The journey was getting bumpier and bumpier until Google Plus called it a day.
From being more company friendly than user-friendly, lack of mobile presence and being no different than Facebook, experts would have many reasons why it failed to take off.
However, it can’t be sidelined that Google Plus has been an important platform for social media pros.
Let’s take a look back at the journey of Google Plus to understand how it went through.
June 2011: Google+ Gets a Huge Launch
The launch of Google+ was a big tech headline of that year. The aim was clear (though unofficial)—to out compete Facebook. And Google came out with this bold claim—
“In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”
The “circle of friends” idea was hyped better than “friend requests”. In short, it was positioned as a Facebook killer.
February 2012: Google+ Gets its First Major Controversy
Google CEO Larry Page claimed to achieve the number of over 90 million users. But if some media reports are to be believed, it was a fake number. Wall Street dubbed it as a “virtual ghost town” compared to Facebook. ComScore found that there was little to no engagement despite a huge signing up rate.
March 2012: The Father Comes Out in Defense:
Amidst the soaring controversies, Vic Gundotra, founder of Google+, came to pacify the matter. He described it as a “social layer across all of Google’s services.”
Here is what he said to the Huffington Post:
“You can think of Google+ as Google 2.0. It’s the next generation of Google. The old Google was siloed; your identity and how you share with your family was different across each product. In the new version of Google, we know your name, we understand your circles and we make every service better.”
Interestingly, the same Gandotra allegedly scared Google’s founder Larry Page by claiming that Facebook would kill Google+.
The Google came out with a better option for Google Plus Cover Images!
April 2014: Gundotra Quits:
Dropping traffic and universal rejection from users made Gundotra leave the company. He left Google+ high and dry. It also started losing the support of Google and employees were shifted to other departments. This misery earned Google Plus a title like “walking dead” by TechCrunch.
March 2015: Bifurcation of Google+:
Google+ was broken into Photos and Streams as soon as Bradley Horowitz took the charge. This move came with a message by Horowitz—
“It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.”
In November, Google also introduced the New Look of Google+.
October 2018: Is Security Bug a Final Nail to the Coffin?
According to several media reports, Google “concealed” the incident of a security bug that has exposed data of over 500,000 users. Ben Smith, a Google Vice President of engineering, wrote in his blog post…
”We ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.,”
And it is an End of the Road for Google+:
Google, however, has never accepted so far that security bug is the reason behind the closing of Google +.
However, Google+ will be available as a business version. To facilitate users for this huge transition, Ben Smith assures—
“To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data,”
Google+ is going to be just another Orkut for Google after April 2019(date TBC) as Google will be completely shutting down Google+ by then