With nearly 395 million monthly active users, Google’s take on social media may have seemed like a viable outlet for small businesses looking to increase their exposure. Coming on the heels of a new data breach, Google+ has finally decided to abandon their once hopeful social media platform. In this article, we will take a look at the impact Google+ made and the failures that lead to its ultimate downfall.

The Birth of Google+

The original idea for Google+ began around seven years ago following the implementation of +1 buttons for websites to serve as a ranking signal for search engines. This not only gave a standard for quality, it provided a unique insight into what stories and pages were receiving the best engagement. However, Google denies that this wasn’t the case although evidence from private studies showed otherwise.

Through Google+, users could join circles that interested them or follow specific profiles to gain access to unique posts and aggregated news articles that were relevant to their industry or hobbies. While a promising idea at the start, Google+ never achieved the active user goals they had initially hoped for. In fact, this poor engagement was ultimately one of the reasons for the closure of the social media platform.


The Death of Google+

After the discovery of a security bug that allowed third-party developers to access unique user data of Google+ users in 2015, the tech giant decided to patch the problem in March of 2018, but not inform users until October. As users allowed the social media platform permission to access their data, it allowed them to not only see their public profile but unique non-public information like birth dates, email addresses, full names and more.  However, Google denied that any misuse of this data had occurred to their knowledge.

After this data breach became public, Google announced that Google+ would be closing sooner than their projected August 2019 deadline. Because most of the user base of Google+ included enterprise users, the system now plans to pivot to a business-based application. Some evidence of this is already seen in the added features of Google My Business like the recent implementation of Posts.

With 90% of Google+ sessions lasting less than 5 seconds, it’s unlikely that the platform will be missed. While parallels can be made the Facebook Cambridge Analytica breach that resulted in a Senate Committee hearing, it’s clear that Google+ didn’t have the active user base to bounce back. And, although we are saying bye bye to Google+, we look forward to the future innovation the tech giant will give us.