If you still use Google Plus (Google+) for social networking you are one of the few, but if you don’t I guess you’re wondering why Google+ is still alive. Google is hanging onto Google Plus like musicians are hanging onto Myspace.
A little history behind Google plus. Google Plus is the company’s fourth try at social networking following the failure of Google Buzz. Google+ launched in June 2011.
Google Buzz – launched 2010, retired in 2011
Google Friend Connect – launched 2008, retired by March 1, 2012
Orkut – launched in 2004 retired in September 2014
The social network was considered a major competitor for Facebook and even forced Facebook to step up their game to match some of Google+ features. Google used their existing customer base and Google+’s enhanced properties, like Gmail, +1 button, Photos, Videos, and YouTube comments to push fast and hard growth.
In 2015 Google announced a major redesign of the platform. In July in an effort to make YouTubers happy Google split off Google+ comments from YouTube and just let users go back to using their Gmail account. Google removed Google Plus from Google Hangouts as well.
In March of 2016, Google hired 4Chan founder Chris “Moot” Poole and stated he will be helping Google create communities. A lot of buzz was around him possibly helping get Google+ off the ground there has been very little if anything heard from him since the announcement.
Google Plus has been the very quiet regarding news releases, 9to5 Google reported: “Google+ getting improvements to UX, spam control, & moderation in coming months.” But besides that, it’s been since January when Techcrunch reported: “Google+ won’t go away”. The platform itself has very little news attention and had zero mention at Google I/O. Which I would like to point out makes sense if Google sees the active user usage data going down they would not want to mention it to shareholders possibly.
I am starting to think that Google Plus is a dead platform for the home consumer market. I feel Google is keeping Google plus around just for extra added offering as part of their G suite package. Google Plus still does serve a purpose as it allows Google to have a collaboration service to compete with Microsoft’s every growing crop of communication and collaboration tools like LinkedIn, groups and Sharepoint.
I think as part of G suite for education and business Google Plus serves a much-needed purpose for Google. I think the fact that over the last few years Google is breaking it away from YouTube, Hangouts and other consumer services platforms shows Google is pivoting the social media network for a different purpose, it remains to be seen what Google will do in the near future with Google Plus.