Next August, the social media platform that everyone had but no one paid attention to will say goodbye to consumers. Google Plus, started in 2011 when the company tried to make its own social media site, in order to compete with Facebook. Unfortunately, for the almighty deity of search engines, it did not take off the way they intended. From their +1 button to Google Circles, to Google Plus Communities, Google Plus has had some innovative ideas for building communities based around interests, businesses, and organization. But the mishandling of the platform and what was most likely a lack of investment within the platform has led to the end of Google+
A Mess From The Start
According to some former Google + Designers, the platform and the management of the platform was a mess from its very beginnings. They didn’t have much of a problem getting subscribers via integration with other Google initiatives. But, the engagement was always low. Google itself reported that 90% of it user sessions did not last more than 5 seconds. Crazy right? But not surprising. Morgan Knutson, a former Google + designer, described his experience, designing Google+ as, basically a visionless, bureaucratic and random process. If things were as bad as he says they were then it’s no surprise the platform did not perform well.
The Data Breach
With its poor management, the recent data breach comes as no surprise. According to Google, they detected and patched a bug in March of this year. The bug had access to about 500,000 users private information including, name, email address, occupation, gender, and age. The bug did not have access to any other data that was “posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.” The way the bug worked, was that when users granted apps and different APIs access to their profile data and the public profile information of their friends, the bug also gained access to the optional, private data that was shown to users, but not on their public profile.
The breach is the cause of an internal bug, so if you have worries about external hackers knowing public information, that is already, well, public, you don’t have to worry. Examining the history of Google+, it is evident that the discovery of this bug and the external outrage from consumers due to being told months later about the bug did not cause the end of Google+. But, it was most likely a catalyst in getting the company to reexamine the platforms worthwhileness.
Some Users Are Sad to See The End of Google+
The users who actively use Google+ are sad to see the platform go. Some petitions to keep the platform already have over 32,000 signatures, at the time of the writing of this article. Google+ definitely impacted some users, even if it was only a tiny percentage of people.
Does Google+ Have An Impact On Search Engine Rankings?
It would make sense that since Google+ is a Google product, it must have some impact on Google search rankings. Long story short it does, but not just because it belongs to Google. Google+ is a social media platform, so Google counts engagement on the platform as social signals. If your audience isn’t on Google+ then, more than likely the Google+ shutdown would not really affect you. If your audience is on Google+ and your business receives many +1 button clicks, your organic SEO may be affected. But Google has made no indication of how or when the shutdown could begin to affect your SEO rankings.
What To Do Now?
Google will be shutting down the Google+ platform over a period of 10 months. The expected final shutdown will happen by the end of August 2019. During this period, Google will release information to users that will allow them to download all of their Google+ Data. There is good news for companies and enterprises who use Google+ for internal communications. According to Google:
“At the same time, we have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies. Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. We will share more information in the coming days. “
So if you are a company that uses the platform for the above purposes, you are in the clear. Additionally, Google will be taking a renewed interest in making the platform more beneficial for you and your employees.
If you have any more questions about the end of Google+, or if you are looking for a fantastic digital marketing company, contact Shark Bite Digital today! Find out how we can help your business grow and become the apex predator of your industry.