There have been rumours about Google+ coming to an untimely end for a couple of years now. Low usage of the consumer version of the platform was thought to be the nail in its coffin but in the end this has come in the form of a security breach. On October 8th, Google announced that the consumer version of its social network would be shutting down as of August next year.
The announcement came on the same day as a media article exposing a security breach affecting the data of half a million Google+ users. However, while the consumer platform might be shutting down, three days after the announcement, Google also revealed new enterprise-grade features in Google+ for G Suite.
What happened to Google+?
Google acknowledged that the allegations made in the media report were true and that the data of a large number of its users had been compromised. This was said to be due to an API used by third party apps. It was revealed that Google had actually known about this issue since March 2018 but had taken the decision not to reveal the problem to Google+ users. Although the issue was patched as soon as it was discovered, it’s thought that around 500,000 users were affected – however, Google is not able to reveal which accounts these were, as it says it only keeps logs for two weeks.
How to deal with the Google+ shut down?
The platform, which was launched in 2011, is not due to close until August 31st 2019. Google has said that it will provide instructions in the meantime with respect to how to download and migrate files for anyone looking to move on from Google+. If you’re one of those currently using Google+ then there are some key steps to take to prepare for its disappearance, including:
- Phasing it out of social strategy
- Removing Google+ sharing buttons online
- Finding an alternative platform for any communities that you have established on Google+
- Focusing attention on other social sharing platforms that have the characteristics likely to support your content type (e.g. Instagram for images)
- Reviewing your security processes and procedures to ensure early detection of any issues from a security breach such as this
The new enterprise features
Three days after it was announced that the consumer version of Google+ would be shut down, Google revealed new enterprise-grade features in Google+ for G Suite. Some of the new features that are being introduced include custom streams for users to receive topical information and new analytics capability that will reveal how content is viewed across the business. Tags will also be introduced to make it easier to get the right content to the right people.
Although Google+ is largely viewed as a failure for Google it’s clear that the company is planning to turn around the consumer disaster by investing more in the enterprise version instead.