Log out of Google+, it may be shutting down
'The question of whether Google+ is a success or a failure is still up for debate'
August 11, 2014 9:34 by kippreport
Lee Mancini, Managing Director of Sekari
Google’s social media platform, Google+, may be heading for a cancellation in light of its disappointing performance.
June 28 marked the third anniversary of Google’s social media platform, Google+. The question of whether Google+ is a success or a failure is still up for debate. What you hear largely depends on who you’re listening to.
It cannot be denied that, considering the might and all-pervasive power of Google, it is surprising that Google+ hasn’t fared a lot better than we’re seeing in its bid to take business away from Facebook and Twitter. Instead of the personal communities that we see on Facebook, or the practical and extremely effective networking we see on Twitter, Google+ seems to be dominated by digital marketers who all know that using Google+ bumps them up a few notches in Google’s good books; they have a vested interested in using Google+ and their presence is not all sincerity.
For all other social media platforms, the criterion for digital marketers or business owners has always been ‘which platform gives me the most engagement.’ But with Google+ there’s always the question of ‘how much credit will Google give me for playing the game?’ Added to which, Google+ tools and features have become genuinely useful for users of all stripes.
Sergey Brin: mistakes were made
Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, recently admitted that mistakes have been made with Google+. He admits that he should never have been involved with the development of Google’s social media platform since he’s not a social person. Up until the moment he said that, the tech world was unaware that anyone else was in charge of the development of Google+ besides Vic Gundotra. Vic left the project in April 2014, which only served to fuel speculation that the platform wasn’t doing well. That, plus the fact that in April 2014, Google ended its policy of forced integration of Google+ with all its products, does make one wonder about the platform’s future.
At the very least, these two moves indicate a big shakeup within Google.
Google’s mixed signals
Signals have always been mixed regarding the actual extent of Google+’s success. Users continually report that when it comes to engagement, it’s not nearly as effective as Facebook or Twitter, but the Google+ team points to growing user numbers to indicate that it is, in fact, succeeding. Users counter that the numbers are inflated because a vast portion of them are not, and never have been, active on Google+, but only have an account because they have opened a Google account.
Since April, a number of tech blogs have surmised that Google might actually be planning to kill off Google+ altogether. It seems unlikely, even if the platform has drastically underachieved on its goals. The main reason is that too much has been invested in Google+ and related products such as Google Authorship and Google Hangouts.
However, digital marketers have recently noticed that Google has begun to cancel, move or decouple services from Google+.
Google Places for Business and Google Pages have been decoupled from Google+. During the past few months, Google Pages users found that their previously verified pages were classified by Google as unverified and Google Places seemed to be taking mapping information from the new Google Pages and, in some cases, showing the wrong location. In June, Google launched My Business Pages – arguably the biggest change to Google Local we’ve yet to see. This will take over from Places for Business, which, until recently, was the default for Google+ and, instead, will add the business information to Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. Users of Places for Business will be upgraded to Google My Business Pages. So, goodbye Places for Business!
Users now don’t need Google+ for Google Places for Business or Google Pages. What’s next?
This is perhaps the most useful tool that has evolved from Google+. It’s still evolving and the latest thing is Business Hangouts. It’s a fact that lots of communities gravitate towards Google+ because Google Hangouts is a really useful business and social tool. This is the one to watch. If Google decouples Hangouts from Google+, it could all be over.
End of the road?
One has to wonder just how many services Google can decouple from Google+ without creating another zombie like Orkut, which is due to be killed off at the end of September 2014.
Perhaps Google plans to divide Google+ up into a number of smaller, useful services? We’ve seen Google separate Business Pages from Google+ and Google Hangouts could easily exist on its own rather than part of the larger Google+ package.
The above is all speculation. Google has not made any announcements regarding Google+, except to deny that they’ll close it down. But that’s happened before.
So, is Google+ really for the chop? What do you think?
Sekari is the leading provider of Search Optimised Content Marketing based in the UAE