Google announces plan to shut down Google Plus for individual use, leave it on for businesses

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

United States technology giant Google announced on Monday on their official blog they would be closing their Internet-based social network Google+ for individual use. They said this announcement followed several months of Google analyzing how Google+ is used, which showed a low rate of "usage and engagement" while the platform incurred a maintenance burden for maintaining its security. The platform would continue to be available for business use, according to the announcement.

Google+ logo in 2015.
Google+ icon.

According to the analysis, in 90 percent of cases, people reportedly used Google+ for less than five seconds at a time, Google said. The announcement states the closure of Google+ would apply only to individuals who would have ten months to transition and be provided with information about how to retrieve their data from the service.

Ben Smith, a Google vice president for engineering, wrote in a blog post, "Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+." Additionally, he announced Google is increasing security for its apps that ask for access to user data, giving the users the ability to select what is being shared.

In the announcement Google also referred to a vulnerability of the Google+ web site found in March, which had reportedly exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users. The data-exposure was reportedly minimal and limited to names, email addresses, occupation, gender, and age of the consumer. Other data like phone numbers, messages, Google Plus posts or data from other Google accounts are unexposed, the company had said. Google had resolved this problem. However, it was not announced to the public at that time, which caused some amount of public criticism. According to the official blog post by Google, this incident was indicative of the software maintenance effort and legal risks required to continue running the platform.

In the announcement, Google said in the future it would focus on services for enterprise and businesses.