As Google announced that the sun was setting on the consumer version of the social platform, Google+ (originally introduced to compete with Facebook), the news was met with a public shrug of the shoulders.
Google+ has long been an online wasteland, a rare failure from the search engine giant, Google. In their report, released on October 8th, Google admits that Google+ suffered from low engagement and usage with 90% of users spending fewer than five seconds on the site. (Ouch.)
So, is this how it ends for Google+, not with a bang but a whimper?
While rumors of Google+'s shutdown have been circulating for years now, the straw that finally broke the camel's back and prompted the decision to call it quits was the discovery of a security bug in the consumer version of Google+ that allowed developers to access Google+ profile data. According to this blog post written by the Vice President of Engineering, Ben Smith, the bug was patched in March of 2018, and it only ever affected optional profile data on Google+ (name, email address, etc.), not any other connected data through such services like G Suite or Google account data.
It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but the bug did force Google to face the facts. It just wasn't benefiting enough from Google+ to justify all the work that goes into running the unsuccessful platform.
The shutdown of the consumer version will not immediately take effect. Instead, the service will run until around August 2019. In the meantime, Google announced new features for the Enterprise version of Google+, which is essential for G-Suite functionality.
Like a Phoenix from the Ashes
While the death of Google+ marks the end of Google's latest foray into social media for consumers, the revamp of Google+ for enterprises is promising.
Setting its sights on creating an employee communication space to rival platforms like Slack, Google is introducing new features that improve the way employees can share posts within a company.
As explained in a blog posted on October 11th, employees will soon be able to tag content to make sure it gets seen by the right people:
"Even if you don’t know all employees across an organization, tags makes it easier to route content to the right folks. Soon you’ll be able to draft posts and see suggested tags, like #research or #customer-insights when posting customer survey results. This helps content surface to employees that follow that tag, and they can choose to engage when it’s convenient to find new ideas or join relevant discussions from across the company."
Along with better post analytics that allow users to see who's viewing their content and controls that let admins oversee and modify posts, these new features present a great opportunity for businesses to foster communication within and across internal teams.
I, for one, am definitely keeping an eye on Google as it rolls out these new changes. Who knows? The death of Google+ for consumers might mean life for its enterprise-oriented counterpart.
About the Author
Mike Speer is a digital marketing executive at Michael’s Wilder. He shares his experiences with entrepreneurship, creative marketing, and balancing a hectic work schedule with his life as a devoted husband and father.