End of Google Plus

End of Google Plus is nigh. Come April 2nd, 2019 Google Plus will not be around!

Google Plus set to end on:

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Google announces the end of Google Plus

It’s no surprise that the end of Google Plus was expected for some time, especially when it was unable to gain any momentum in comparison to other social media platforms. Google Plus was once a social media website created by Google in 2011 with the intentions of it being as big as Facebook and compete with other social media websites, like Twitter Instagram and LinkedIn. 

History of Google Plus

The history of Google Plus is brief, with it only being popular for a short amount of time, and most saying that it had officially “died” in late 2015. Google Plus started in 2011, but you may not be aware but Google has had other social media platforms. For example, they actually had 3 other social media websites, named Google Buzz (2010 – 2011), Google Friend Connect (2008 to 2012) and lastly, Orkut (2008 – 2014). Of course with Google Plus being the most popular and lasting the longest out of all of them. So why is Google putting an end to Google Plus and does all this failure mean in terms of Google’s expectations? 

Google Buzz

Google Buzz was one of Google’s biggest and quickest social media failures, only lasting a total of 22 months from February 2010 to December 2011. To sum up the website, it was somewhat a “blogging” website, where you would type whatever you want into a text box and post it for others to see.

According to gizmodo.com, Google Buzz can be summed up with 5 basic features:

  • Automatic friends lists (friends have added automatically who you have emailed on Gmail)
  • “Rich fast sharing” combines sources like Picasa and Twitter into a single feed, and it includes full-sized photo browsing
  • Public and private sharing (swap between family and friends)
  • Inbox integration (instead of emailing you with updates, like Facebook might, Buzz features emails that update dynamically with all Buzz thread content, like the photo viewer we mentioned above)
  • “Recommended Buzz” puts friend-of-friend content into your stream, even if you’re not acquainted. Recommendations learn over time with your feedback.

Looking at these you can certainly tell that Google Buzz was leaning towards another Facebook type of Social media. For example, its focus was on making connections with friends around the world, and the fact that you have to add people too.

Why did Google Buzz fail?End of Google Plus

Like the end of Google Plus, Google Buzz failed for many reasons. In fact, one reason was the resemblance to Facebook.  Now imagine if you were given an alternative but was the same with a leading social media platform? why would you want to switch? They didn’t have one major feature that made it somewhat better or at least different than Facebook, so why would the millions of people who are already on Facebook want to migrate onto this website.  The business insider, made a great point, “if Google isn’t trying to kill Facebook with their new social media website, then what’s the reason for even making it at all?”, they also mentioned how the home screen seems bland and lack any type of imagination in it.

Apparently, another reason it failed was that it was forced onto users. In fact, Google did not try to lure or attract customers but was automatically assigned a Google Buzz account without their permission. This apparently quickly made it a privacy nightmare even in the social media realm.

Legal issues

Google Buzz was seen as a major invasion of privacy and had a lot of legal actions taken against it. A student from Harvard Law School filed a class action lawsuit against Google, stating: “claiming that it severely compromised her and others’ privacy,  she signed into Gmail without realizing that, by doing so, she had unwittingly also signed up to be part of the new network”. Hence, a clear reason why Google lost many customers. 

Google Friend

Google friend connect is another social media website that Google created in 2008. While it technically didn’t fail (the status of it is under “suspended”). This came out shortly after Facebook and was Google’s attempts to make a social media website that would rival all other social media websites such as Facebook and Myspace and Twitter.

Google friend connect was a blog posting type of website, letting those post whatever they wanted. Also had incorporated a friend connecting service. Some more of the basic Google friend connect are:

  • When active, the website owner set the language of their site and then allowed the user (via their Google Friend Connect account) to translate selected content into their own specified language
  • Users often have multiple usernames and passwords if they registered with more than one social networking site or third-party site. Social Networking Connect Services, such as Google Friend Connect, were intended to remove the need for multiple registrations by allowing links from a user’s account on a social networking site to their account on a third party site.
  • Users were able to personalize through gadgets. Gadgets such as ‘Interests’, allowed third-party sites to send out newsletters to those subscribed to the site and to customize newsletters based on user responses.
  • Google Friend Connect had an ‘AdSense’ feature that let Google advertise based on site content and the user interests that were publicly shared by the user.

Why was it deactivated?

  1. Google figured that this website wasn’t going to be as big as Facebook, so they came out with Google Plus and phased this website out. “Approximately 200,000 websites are said to use Google Friend Connect, and 2889 of them are in the top million visited sites on the Internet. Google, however, estimated it had over 5 million sites using Friend Connect” based off of statistics from built with trends.

All in all, it technically didn’t fail, Google slowly gave up on it and chose to go with Google Plus instead. But as we know it the end of Google Plus is imminent!

Orkut

Orkut was a website by Google made by Orkut Büyükkökten in late 2004 and was one of Google’s first good social media websites. It lasted for a total of 10 years which is a long time by Google’s standards.

Features provided by Orkut:

  • Add friends
  • Send scraps to people (Scrapbook) – These messages are visible to all.
  • Send personal messages to each other
  • Post videos
  • Integrate G talk
  • An option of liking each other`s activities
  • Restricted and unrestricted community polls
  • Customizing themes
  • Becoming a fan of each other
  • Rating your friends

While these features were more than enough to keep users entertained and able to catch up with friends and overall be social, it seems to have lacked what Facebook offered. In fact, Facebook had better features, and or the same features, but with an improved and better-looking user interface. A key reason why Okurt failed in late 2014. According to medium.com, there were a few main reasons such as

  1. Facebook was the main reason behind Orkut failure.
  2. Though redesigned several times Orkut was not able to retain its user base.
  3. In fact, the initial design of Orkut was much simpler and user-friendly. Later the things became just complicated to access.
  4. The website loaded slowly compared to its rival Facebook.
  5. Facebook kept it as simple as it could for the user so Orkut’s loss was Facebook’s gain.
  6. Orkut never tried really to take up to revive itself.
  7. Introducing Google Plus already meant the beginning of the end for Orkut.
  8. Orkut should have been what Facebook is today but somehow it lost its momentum and the grip over its users.

 

Following all these tries Google seemed to have placed all its bets later on Google Plus? Now, here we are at the end of Google Plus. For many users come April 2nd, 2019 this will be a day of sadness, and un-linking for a defunct social media platform. 

Why the End of Google Plus 

Google + was one of the social media platforms I’ve used, and it was not because I wanted to have one but was forced on me. I remember every time I would log into my YouTube account, it would instantly create a Google Plus account without my permission. One of the most annoying things was when your YouTube account would automatically link to your Google Plus, and it was not easy figuring out how to delete Google plus without deleting your YouTube. Overall, Facebook had already taken a clear lead and was impossible for Google Plus to even play catch up! Also, according to Forbes, Google plus has had a 98% decline in engagement rate, year-over-year.

Google Plus features

I’m not going to lie, Google had some cool features, but not enough to make me sit down, understand how they would work and just ditch Facebook to go on Google Plus all the time. Here goes a list of some of Google Plus features:

  • Circles which was a core feature for Google+, it enabled users to organize people into groups or lists for sharing. In the “Stream”, which is on the home screen, they can see a post from certain circles and communities they joined. You can even compose your own post or circle
  • Hangouts, which lets users group call or group chat
  • +1 button, which is equivalent to a like on Facebook.

There was a lot of other features, but nothing really groundbreaking in comparison to other social media platforms.

The end of Google Plus and some final say…

Personally, the end of Google is no surprise. The fact that Google tried to imitate other social media platforms did not help it leap ahead. Though Google Plus will come to an end, there are many other promising technologies Google shines in. Googles 20 years have surely allowed this technology firm to create an impact in many areas. For example, Google’s ranking algorithm and search engine technology to its Google Android. Even though the end of Google may be a surprise or a shock to some Google will continue to make leaps in various innovative areas. 

Google My Business

Overall Google has many strong technologies such as its Adword service, Its search engine directory, Google Duplex, Knowledge Panel, Google Trends, AMP, Google reviews, Google Home and others. For businesses using Google Plus, they should clearly move over to Google My Business

 

 

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April 2nd 2019 marks the end of Google Plus 

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