Google Reluctantly Shuts Down its Failed Social Media Platform, Google Plus, Following Data Breach

Google Reluctantly Shutting Down Google Plus, Its Failed Social Media Platform

Google Plus has been shut down. Search engine giant, Google has announced it will shut down its flagship social media platform.

This follows news that the platform had major flaws that leaked private profile data of around 500,000 users to third-party services.

But this leak was discovered way back in March 2018, when Google was reviewing its data policies and how data was already being shared.

However, the company refused to reveal the flaw immediately. It was the hay day of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica issue, so Google feared it would get caught in the mix.

According to an internal memo, the company, whose motto used to be “don’t be evil”, didn’t want to get “into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal.” So it concealed until recently. Of course, there’s going to be heavy backlash and mistrust over this issue going forward. But it is the shutdown of Google Plus that is the focus for now.

Nevertheless, Google is in no rush to immediately kill off its long-cherished platform. Google+ is only expected to be shut down from consumers by August next year. But Google says it will continue to make the platform available for enterprise customers as many enterprises are deriving “great value” in Google Plus. “We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses”, the company said. Also Google Plus will remain an internal social platform for Google employees.

Users Never Really Got Google Plus

Although the news about the shutdown of Google Plus sounds shocking, it won’t be missed.

Google Plus was designed to rival Facebook. And the platform got much love from Google CEO, Larry page. Google feared that Facebook’s user engagement rate would spell trouble for the search engine company. A higher engagement rate meant more advertising revenue.

Google Plus represented Google’s fourth foray into developing a social platform. But like all the others, it faltered. By 2015, it had 111 million users but had a 98% decline in user agent from the previous year. And by 2018, Google admitted that 90% of user sessions never moved beyond 5 seconds. That sucks!

A major reason for this was that the platform was slow to reach the mobile audience. Google Plus was designed to model Facebook but failed to catch on to Facebook’s switch to mobile.

Interestingly, many had actually speculated that the platform would collapse since 2015. But it remained, largely because Google didn’t want to kill it, not because users are remaining.

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