Sing it with us now: ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end. Let’s call it a night, the party’s over. And tomorrow starts the same old thing again.’ Willie Nelson didn’t know it at the time, but he was singing about Google+, or at least that’s the case if you’re a fan of the social network. Not enough people were, and so starting on February 4, Google will begin turning out the lights.
Google announced several months ago that it was planning to shutter Google+ on the consumer side. The company cited “low usage and engagement” as the primary reason, which translates into Google+ not being nearly as popular as Facebook.
However, the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was the disclosure of a security flaw, and the revelation on Google’s part that maintaining a social network is a lot of work.
“Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain. Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs,” Google said. “The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
Google didn’t say exactly when the service would shut down, though we now have a timeline. Starting February 4, users will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities, or events. Then on April 2, Google will delete all Google+ comments on all sites and completely shut down the service for consumers.
“The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted,” Google says.
While the euthanasia date is on the horizon, there is still time to download and save your content, if you’re interested. Google has posted step-by-step instructions for doing this.
Google+ will remain open and active for G Suite customers. As part of that, Google says users can expect a new look and new features sometime soon. For everyone else, however, the party’s over. Hardly anyone showed up anyway.
The shutdown timeline is as follows:
- As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities, or events.
- The Google+ feature for website comments will be removed by Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2nd.
- Google+ sign-in buttons will stop working in the coming weeks, but in some cases will be replaced by a Google sign-in button.
- Google+ Community owners and moderators who are downloading data from their Community will gain additional data for download starting early March 2019. That includes author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community.
- On April 2nd, all Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down and Google will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in users’ Album Archive and Google+ pages will also be deleted. Photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.