Google Plus Is Shutting Down: What You Should Do
October 12, 2018
Google announced this week that it will be shutting down its Google + Network on Aug. 31, 2019. Google made the announcement after reports surfaced that the data of half million users had been exposed on the social network.
The Wall Street Journal alleges that Google knew about the security issue dating back to March 2018 too but failed to disclose it to users. Google has said it remedied the vulnerability in March. The data breach was due to a software bug that was limited to a small number of Google+ profile fields that were marked non-public, Google officials say.
Shortly after the announcement, Google announced it would be shutting down the social network in 10 months. Google Vice President Ben Smith cited “low usage” and that the majority of visitors are on the site for less than five seconds.
In the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2018 Technology Survey, about 21 percent of real estate professionals surveyed said they use Google+ in their business.
Google+ launched in 2011 under big promises that it would take on rivals Facebook and Twitter. But it failed to materialize and Google started to wind down some consumer functions on the platform in 2015, but profiles remain active on the social network.
For those who still use Google+ in their business, Smith says that Google will be providing instructions on the coming months on how to download and migrate files. Google will continue to offer an enterprise-only version of Google+, a private network for organizations.
Those who still use Google+ will want to make a plan to phase out their usage and identify a new social media outlet. The publication Small Business Trends suggests the following actions for those who still use Google+:
- Remove Google+ share and follow buttons from your website and blog.
- If you have a Community on Google+, start migrating it to a new platform, such as Facebook and LinkedIn Groups. Make sure to leave plenty of time to notify members and clients of your change.
- Check up on the security of your own Google account, given news of the data breach. Google offers a special tool to do that.
“Google Plus Is Shutting down After Exposing User Data,” AdWeek (Oct. 9, 2018) and “Google Plus to Shut Down: What Small Businesses Need to Know,” Small Business Trends (Oct. 9, 2018)
Updated: August 16, 2019