Online giant Google has now started the process of closing down and erasing all accounts on the Google+ social platform, ending the company’s attempts to compete with Twitter, Facebook and other social sites.
The company decided to phase out its social platform as a result of low usage from users and due to it becoming a security liability. Google confirmed that two data leaks of a significant level could have exposed the information of tens of millions of users to outside developers.
The first of these was kept a secret for several months and prompted Google to make the decision to get rid of Google+ altogether. The second prompted the company to speed up the shutdown plans by a few months, with bosses deciding to close the service this month instead of later on in the summer.
Google has confirmed that for both exposures, there has been no evidence that the outside developers were aware of these issues and none have appeared to take advantage. Furthermore, access to the platform’s APIs has already been removed as per the company’s shutdown schedule.
One of the main reasons for the closure is because of a low user growth. Google has acknowledged that the service has failed to meet company expectations is terms of both mainstream pickup and user growth. The company had hoped to rival Facebook and Twitter with this product, both of which have hundreds of millions of users, but the tool has not lived up to this expectation.
Back in October, Google stated that despite a lot of effort being put in by its engineering teams, the platform has not achieved the goals that were hoped for. It also revealed that 90% of its users were spending less than five seconds on the site.
Despite not reaching the heights Google wanted it to, the site did house a small and loyal community. They enjoyed using the platform that was free from ads and enabled topic-focused discussions to take place, which helped these conversations feel constructive and substantial in comparison to services such as Reddit.
In its early days, Google tried to palm the service off on users by making them sign up when they wanted to use the company’s other products such as Gmail, or to comment on videos on YouTube. As users didn’t like being forced to sign up for an unfamiliar social network, Google soon stopped doing this.
However, as a result of the site not really taking off and the recent security lapses, Google has thrown in the towel and is shutting down the site as quickly as possible. It will be completely and permanently deleting all accounts in the next few months.