Google+, It’s Time to Retire

The Google+ Journey

Founded in 2011, Google+ is one of the most well-known social media flops of our day. At its inception, it had a lot of potential. Everyone was watching to see if Google, one of the world’s most influential companies, would be able to pull off a social media coup.

As you all know, they weren’t. Over the years it became increasingly clear that Google+ was just a reaction to the popularity and threat posed by Facebook, which was an increasingly a strong presence in the Internet world. Google fought back by creating their own social network, though they failed to truly differentiate it from Facebook. It offered very little in the way of original aspects, mostly relying on trendy names like “sparks” to seem innovative. To most users, that fell flat. It seemed just like an alternate Facebook, and less developed at that.

When Google+ as a social network didn’t pan out the way Google wanted, they rephrased their definition of the service, and called it a “social layer across all of Google’s services.” Then, they used their influence to push it. They required a Google+ account and profile for far too many things, including posting comments on YouTube and logging into services such as Google Photos. Also, for a time the concept of Google Authorship made it seem as though keeping up a Google+ profile would have huge benefits for the SEO of a website. Unfortunately, it rarely worked out as intended. Google became too pushy, and people bailed.

Why Retire Google+?

Created as a response to a threat and trying to include too many services into one, Google+ was destined for failure from the start. Google tried to use their clout to gain users, but the harder they tried the more people abandoned Google+ in favor of other, more specialized social networks. In 2015, Google retired the idea that Google+ was the connecting feature between all of their services, and separated it into Google Photos and Google Hangouts. Google+ may still be around in name, but it won’t be long before that, too, dies out.

So why do we think that Google should save face and retire Google+ altogether? Clearly, it’s failed at its purpose. Built originally to respond to the Facebook threat, Google failed to create anything innovative for their users. Now, their transition to focus on photos and communications shadows other social media frontrunners like Pinterest and Instagram. Google has been salvaging Google+ as much as possible, but the services it has been distilled down to still don’t offer anything novel or superior. We think it’s time for Google+ to gracefully hang up the hat, so that Google can focus their resources on what they do so well!