Will the end of Google + have any impacts on the industry?
You may have heard the recent news that Google + is to close, so in its honour we have decided to write a post about this and what the implications might be.
Perhaps some of you were not surprised at the announcement that Google + is to close. What perhaps wasn’t expected was the way in which this was communicated – the decision being taken because of yet another worrying data breach for the public and wider community. The actual details of this focused on a bug in the API section of Google + which allowed outsider developers to access data about Google + users which could have affected as much as half a million accounts! The thing that potentially makes this scandal worse and what is considered by many to be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ is that this data breached was discovered back in March 2018, but nothing was said about it, and it only came to light when a American newspaper uncovered the story.
Due to the above and the length of time which has elapsed, Google had no choice but to respond and give information about what had happened. It is interesting in their response that they constantly refer to the problems as a ‘bug’ rather than any malicious activity per se. This is quite important because from their point of view it appears to take away some of the culpability and perhaps tries to reassure the public about why nothing was said before (because presumably they didn’t regard it as much of a problem?) How much people will be convinced by this and what this does for peoples relationship with Google will be another matter however.
Google + has been a waning social platform for a number of years and taken together with these issues, Google decided that it was probably the best time to close it down. After all, can you remember the last time you used Google +? Google’s original plans for Google + were bold and brave – trying to bring its own social platform into the market. The problem was it never really took off or clicked with the public. By Google’s own admission their own statistics show that many people discover it by mistake or have very low usage and engagement rates – 90% of people spend less than 5 seconds on the platform. That statistic really does say it all for the announcement of this decision.
If you do still use Google + then Google have announced a 10 month count down period before the platform is finally ditched – meaning this is likely to happen around August 2019.
Any there any lessons that can be learnt for the future?
Perhaps these are the main ones…
The obvious one is not to rely too much on one platform for your social media or general marketing strategy. It looks unlikely that anything else Google related will close, but there are always changes happening so you never know!
Tech companies need to be more savvy and honest about any bugs and data breaches to keep public trust and avoid undermining confidence. Trust is a big thing in a vastly changing digital arena and Google of all companies needs to be aware of this.
Will you miss Google + and be sad to see it go?
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