Google recently sent an email to all users of Google+ (the social media platform of Google) announcing that the platform is officially shutting down on 2nd April 2019. Google announced the company’s decision to shut down the failed social media network in December 2018 via a blog post.
Why is Google Shutting down Google+?
In the recent email sent out to customers, Google states that there were several challenges in maintaining a platform that exceeds user expectations and due to low usage, the company has arrived at this decision to retire the social network from Google.
While that may be the official reason, digital media experts believe that the platform is closing because of a data breach that occurred on it. In March 2018, more than 500,000 accounts on the platform had their personal data illegally shared to third-party developers. This data breach occurred around the same time as the notorious Cambridge Analytica data breach that brought Facebook under intense scrutiny.
The worst part about this data breach on Google+ is that Google didn’t inform users about it for several months. Though Google claims that none of the data that was leaked was mishandled, it could result in investigations for Google both in the US and Europe.
Another reason for the closing of the platform is poor usage. Google+ was introduced in 2011 when both Twitter and Facebook were at the top of the social media game. Despite some initial buzz, Google+ never caught on. Though Google+ never went mainstream, it has a niche community of users who prefer an alternative platform that is less crowded.
How to Retrieve Data from Google+ before it’s Gone Forever?
If you have saved photos or videos in your Google+ album archive, you won’t be able to access it after April 2nd. However, if you have taken a backup of these photos to your Google Photos, then you need not worry. As the photos from Google+ backed on Google photos won’t be lost.
If you are a Community Owner or Moderator on Google+ you can download and save your data. From March 2019, you can also download additional data about your community like – photos, body and author details for all community posts.
If you use Google+ to sign into other apps and sites, the G+ sign in button option will be removed in the coming weeks.
If you use Google+ to post comments on sites, then you will no longer be able to do so. The option to post comments using Google+ will be removed from Blogger on 4th Feb and from other sites by 7th March. All the comments you posted using Google+ from all sites will be deleted from 2nd April.
If you are a G Suite customer, your Google+ account for G Suite will remain open. However, Google states that G Suite will be updated soon with a new look and several new features.
If you are a developer using Google+ sign in or APIs, check out this post from Google to find out how this shutdown will impact you.
Key Dates to Remember:
April 2, 2019 – Consumer Google+ accounts and Google+ pages will be closed, and Google will start the process of deleting content from individual Google+ accounts. The process of deletion of customer data will take a while, so you may be able to access some of your data after this deadline, but there’s no guarantee.
From Feb 4th, 2019 – Users will no longer be able to create new Google+ pages, user profiles, events or communities.
For more details about the closure of Google+ check out this FAQ section from Google.