Today marks the end of an era for Google, as its failed social network Google+ will be shutting down.
The social network was launched in 2011 at a time where Facebook and Twitter were seeing massive user growth. It seemed like a good idea but Google+ quickly became a ghost town.
By 2015, Forbes reported that active users on Google+ accounted for less than one percent of the 2.2 billion total Google accounts at the time. Users got a Google+ account when signing up for a Google service.
From today however we can consider the social network a failure as Google shutters the consumer side of the service. Google says that enterprises will still have access to Google+ within their organisation.
Bear in mind that this closure of Google+ doesn’t affect any of Google’s other services. You’ll still be able to sign into Google Play, post comments on YouTube and fire off emails using your Gmail account.
So why after all this time is Google only shutting Google+ down now? Quite frankly, it messed up.
In October last year, Google disclosed a security bug which affected 500 000 users. The bug gave developers more access to user information than users might’ve been expecting . The bug was fixed and Google said no users were adversely affected by the bug.
However, fast forward to December 2018 and Google discovered yet another bug which might’ve compromise the data of 52.5 million users. Thankfully the bug was fixed but Google was forced to bring its shut down forward from August to today.
With an ever dwindling user base, the potential to put other Google users in harms way and the costs of running a social network in mind, the reasons for Google’s decision to scrap the service are clear.
Truth be told, we’re glad that Google has decided to give Google+ a proper send off. The alternative is leaving the service to grow old on the internet and becoming a relic to show your grand children.
Goodbye Google+, we’ll always remember you as the proof that even a company as big as Google can mess up once in a while.