Final “curtain” for Google+: The history of an unsuccessful social network

© Final “curtain” for Google+: The history of an unsuccessful social network

The chapter of the unfortunate social networking, Google+, was closed on Tuesday (April 2nd) by Google.

The social network, which was launched in 2011 and was designed to compete with Facebook and Twitter, was the company’s fourth attempt to establish itself in social networking, but it was not successful despite its efforts to support it through its community YouTube.

Although the social network was considered unsuccessful for years, the company finally decided to shut it down last year after the discovery of a major data breach.

As the BBC says, Google+ started as an invite-only platform in June 2011 before opening its doors to the general public later in the year. It had many of the classic features of social networks, such as photo postings and status updates; however, Google put it as a “social layer” meant to work with all its services. One of its main features was the creation of “Circles” and the making of video calls with “Hangouts”.

Although Google had taken pride in millions of entries in the first few weeks, it was soon discovered that there were few who used it. One of its disadvantages was a user interface that many found inconvenient, the fact that it was late in entering a space dominated by giants such as Facebook and the rumors of disagreements within the company for its orientation and use. It also worked strictly with real names, prohibiting the use of pseudonyms; in some cases “locking” users out of other services like Gmail. Moreover, as reported the BBC, at some stage companies and brands “hunted” that they set profiles that have deleted (although later there was the assumption that it was wrong).

In an effort to boost it, Google embedded it into services like Gmail and in 2013 on YouTube: Anyone who wanted to comment on videos on YouTube had to have a Google+ account, which caused reactions. App-reviewers on Google Play also had these accounts. This seemed to increase activity as YouTube comments, “like” videos and app reviews went up on Google+, but in fact users were still not particularly involved.

The departure of the founder, Vik Guddotra, in April 2014, has brought about a series of changes, such as the independence of Hangouts and Photos, and the disengagement from YouTube and Google Play. In 2015 there was a redesign with an emphasis on “communities” that also failed to attract the expected interest.

In the end, the findings of two data violations prompted Google to close the platform: In 2018 the company revealed that software problems had exposed 52 million members data to “third parties” developers. Finally, Google admitted that few actually used its platform, “sealing the fate” of Google+, which has now been “buried” online on Google Graveyard and Google Cemetery, next to other failed ventures.
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