Google+ (consumer version) is shut down today

The consumer version of Google’s failed social media platform, Google+, is laid to rest today.

Google+ now lays rest in The Google Cemetery, alongside other dead projects such as the URL shortening service, and instant messaging app Google Allo.

Launched in 2011, Google+ was Google’s shot at a social media platform like Facebook and Tumblr.

Despite never seeing success like that of Facebook, it had a dedicated userbase with thriving, diverse communities from the musical to the political.

The announcement was initially made in October 2018, with the expedited shutdown date of April 2019 made in December.

Many in these communities were upset by the announcement and took to the platform to express their dissatisfaction.

Why the shutdown?

Google+ was in for a rough ride from the beginning, with competitors like Facebook and Twitter already dominating the social media landscape.

To compete, a new social media platform would have to offer intuitive new features or a particularly impressive user interface.

Otherwise, there is no incentive for people to create a new social media account.

This simply wasn’t the case with Google+.

No part of it felt truly unique except its integration across other Google platforms and products, which wasn’t enough.

But lack of surface appeal wasn’t its only problem.

In March 2018, a data breach which compromised the personal and private information of over 52.5 million accounts and 500,000 users took place.

Despite the magnitude of the breach, Google did not publicly disclose this information for months.

This left the affected accounts vulnerable.

Google assured users that no third-parties compromised their systems nor did any developers misuse the information they had access to.

Google stated they were, in fact, unaware of such access.

Lessons learned

If you want to compete in the social media landscape, offer something that users aren’t already getting somewhere else.

Or, make the stock-standard social media features significantly more appealing on your platform.

For instance, Gab offers complete freedom of speech — in line with the USA’s first amendment.

And Telegram, though purely an instant messaging platform, offers heavily encrypted and self-destructing messaging.

Neither of these features are offered on the larger social media platforms.

Finally, if the victim of a data breach, always publicly announce the news before too much time passes or someone else does.

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