Unless you’re a business owner or a marketer promoting a business, you won’t be able to use Google+ in the near future. Earlier this week, Google announced that it was shutting down its 7-year-old social media network for consumers. Google+ will remain available for some consumers for the next 10 months. Around summer of next year, however, the search engine’s social media network will only be available for commercial use.
According to TechCrunch, Google’s decision to shut down its social media network stems from a lack of user engagement. Statistics show that roughly 400 million people use Google+ each month. Of course, that’s a fraction of Facebook’s 2 billion monthly active users. As Facebook continues to dominate the social media network, it was only a matter of time until Google cut its losses.
Furthermore, Google says that nine out of 10 Google+ users stay on the social media network for less than five seconds. That’s an abysmal number for any website, but it’s particularly concerning for social media networks like Google+ that rely on strong user engagement. An average user duration of less than five seconds suggests that Google+ users aren’t interested in posting content or accessing the content of other users.
News of Google+’s retirement comes just months after the network experienced a data breach. In March, Google engineers discovered an API bug that exposed the data of more than a half-million users. Being one of the world’s leading tech companies, Google probably could have fixed this vulnerability with an update. But with Google+ suffering from such poor user engagement, it looks like the Mountain View company is throwing in the towel by shutting it down instead.
Google+ was originally launched in 2011 to compete with Facebook in the social media market. Although it has gone through countless changes since its inception, Google+ has failed to attract and retain users. Many users, for example, have complained about Google+’s confusing layout as well as its lack of customization.
Google is giving users of its social media network a 10-month time frame to copy and archive their content.