Google has announced it will shut down the consumer version of its social network, Google+, by April of 2019. While the ultimate reason for pulling the plug is because of a data breach, the social media site has been struggling since its introduction. Here are the other reasons why Google is bidding farewell to Google+.
The official and final reason Google is shutting down Google+ is because of a data breach. Back in March, a piece of software was published that could have been used to view “non-public information.”
While the breach could have affected up to 500,000 accounts, Google said they found no evidence that private information was actually accessed.
Though launched around the same time as other successful social media sites like Snapchat (2011), Instagram (2010) and Pinterest (2010), Google+ never met the level of use as other social media sites.
At the time of the data breach, active monthly users numbered around 100 million. Though sizable, that audience is small. LinkedIn has more than double the active monthly users, Instagram as 800 million, and YouTube and Facebook both have billions.
With the low number of people using the site even after seven years, it’s hard to imagine Google being able to increase activity. Google even admitted it themselves this year: “[Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption.”
It’s often been said that Google+ was only an attempt for Google to compete in the social media realm instead of being able to offer something unique.
Successful social media sites generally have a specific niche for users to connect with each other. (This usually excludes Facebook since its very general format may be a reason why the site became so popular.)
Twitter: quick, short communication
Instagram: easy photo editing
Snapchat: quick communication by photo and video
Reddit: sharing and voting on images and ideas
LinkedIn: communication for business professionals
Pinterest: sharing craft and design ideas
With a low number of users and no solid differentiation on top of the data breach, it’s easy to see why Google is opting to shut down Google+.
From their announcement: “Given [challenges in creating and maintaining a successful social media site] and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
Google will, however, continue to offer the enterprise version of Google+ for internal communication among co-workers in the workplace.
Now that Google+ will be shutting down, marketers can focus their attention on other more successful social media sites.