What Is Happening with Google+?

What Is Happening with Google+?

The dust has finally settled on the Google+ news from early October. The news that Google was shuttering its social network Google+ was a surprise but not a shock.

Think of how often you visited Google+ compared to the frequency with which you check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. While Google+ was launched in June 2011 as a competitor to Facebook, the social network did not gain the traction or addiction level of its rival.

In fact, in the Google blog post announcing the Google+ shutdown, Ben Smith, VP of Engineering at Google said, “…This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.”

“The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

Security flaw notwithstanding, it’s clear that Google+ was not doing for the company what was initially hoped. As a result, Google+ will be fully closed down for consumers in August 2019. However, Google+ will continue with some tweaks and updates for the enterprise sector.

So, what does this all mean for you? Maybe you’ve got a Google+ page and community like we do here at Know Agency – what’s next then? In this post, we provide you with transition steps to move your existing Google+ profile and we provide you with the key facts on the Google security breach.

As always, we welcome your questions about Google+ and anything else related to digital marketing, social media, SEO, and connecting with your key audience.

The Google+ Security Breach

Here are the key facts you need to know about the March 2018 Google+ security breach: 

  • The bug in the Google+ API was discovered by Google employees in March 2018.
  • This bug had been giving third-party app developers access to both the data of those users who had granted permission and to the friends of these users.
  • Google did not reveal or acknowledge this bug and security breach until a Wall Street Journal article was published about the problem.
  • Google responded to this article with a blog post announcing Project Strobe and the shuttering of Google+
  • Google says potentially 500,000 user accounts were impacted by this security breach.
  • As many as 438 third-party applications might have had access to private information as a result of this flaw.
  • Google did patch the bug when it was discovered in March.
  • Because Google does not keep user logs for longer than two weeks, it cannot determine who was impacted by the security breach.

So, if you have a Google+ account that you’ve been using to share articles, news, and updates with your followers and social audience, what should you do now?

What Do I Do with My Company’s Google+ Account?

First of all, don’t panic. Google+ is still active and accessible and will remain live until August 31, 2019. This means you have time to close your Google+ presence and communicate this with your followers.

Here is what we suggest you do to get ready for the complete shut-down of Google+:

  1. If you have a community on Google+, reach out to your community members and find out their thoughts on which platform to move to. Two of the best options are Facebook and LinkedIn Groups – it really depends on your community members and which of these social networks they prefer to use.
  2. Once you have a decision on where you’re moving your Google+ community, get the new group set up and then update your Google+ community members with the transition date and provide them with all the details they need for a smooth migration. Remember, to provide as much detail as possible – the easier it is for people to transition to Facebook or LinkedIn Groups, the more likely people are to follow through.
  3. After your transition date to the new group platform, remove all Google+ share/follow buttons from your website, email signature, and other digital collateral.
  4. In the last few weeks of your Google+ lifecycle, post regular updates about where your followers can find you and give them the links to make it easy to find you on these social networks.

If you don’t have a Google+ community then you should skip ahead to step 3 – remove all Google+ buttons, post updates on Google+ about where you followers can find you, and then provide your followers with a hard closure date for your Google+ presence.

If you have original content on Google+ that you want to save, sit tight, Google will soon be releasing information on how you can save and transition this content elsewhere.

Now, keep in mind this key statistic from the Project Strobe blog post: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds. In other words, do not panic about this shutdown – you were likely getting much less value from the Google social network than you were investing in it.

How Does Google+ Fit into My Social Media Strategy Now?

Plain and simple, Google+ no longer fits into your social media strategy. It’s time to focus your energies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. However, which social networks make the most sense for you depends on your audience demographics.

Remember, each social media channel has its own personality – you need to know how your audience is using each channel and connect with these people in the way that works for them.

In fact, this is the perfect time for you to contact us to talk about social media networks, social listening and engagement, and how to make sure you’re posting quality social media content on the right channels.

Social media is one of the best ways for you to engage, connect, and communicate with your audience – let us help you do it the right way.