When Google first announced its entry into the social media space, it seemed like a sure thing. There was even speculation that their social platform would give Facebook a run for its money. After all, the social space was a bit less crowded at the time, and Google is one of the most successful companies in the entire world. What could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward a few years and you probably already know how the story ends: Google+ never quite caught on with the general public, and now Google has announced that the platform will officially be retired.
If you’re someone who actually enjoys Google+, the silver lining is that you have a little bit of time to transition your activities to another platform. Google says the unwinding process will take about 10 months, so the platform won’t be gone for good until next August.
Why Didn’t Google+ Make It?
Much ink has already been spilled to address the failure of Google+. If you’re looking for a simple and commonsense explanation of why Google is sunsetting the platform, though, why not go straight to the source? Google has been remarkably candid in explaining the problem with their social platform, and it really boils down to low engagement.
Here’s one pertinent statistic from Google: “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
In a social environment where audience engagement is everything, average sessions of five seconds clearly aren’t going to cut it.
And while users aren’t spending much time on Google+, the engineering team has continued to sink quite a bit of time and money into it—not only in the development of new apps and features, but in ongoing efforts to safeguard data security.
“Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain,” Google states. The company is to be commended for continuing their efforts to protect consumer data and privacy—but clearly, there’s just not enough use to justify this ongoing commitment.
What’s Next for Consumers—and for Businesses?
Over the coming months, Google has pledged to offer its user base some helpful resources, specifically some options for migrating their Google+ data to other platforms. It may also be worth noting that a small but vocal faction of Google+ fans have been petitioning for the platform to remain active—though even they seem to concede that the platform isn’t especially useful or engaging.
Meanwhile, Google has suggested that Google+ may not be totally going away—indeed, that it may live on in a slightly new incarnation, one geared primarily toward business use.
“Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” says Google. “Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.”
Further details about Google+ and its new business-focused makeover are coming soon.
What About Google My Business?
One final note we’ll make here is that it’s entirely possible your company has been using some of Google+’s features without even realizing it—that is, if you’ve taken the time to set up a Google My Business account.
Google My Business is a free service for small business owners. When you set up your account, you get access to a lot of different tools—including some Google+ features, but also consumer review options, a dashboard, analytics, and beyond.
More importantly, starting a Google My Business page is a way to better integrate your company into local search results, and to provide search engine users with meaningful information such as star ratings, a list of your services, hours of operation, and so forth.
Because Google My Business is an easy way for you to improve your search visibility, we’d offer this humble suggestion: As Google sorts out the fate of Google+, it wouldn’t hurt to take the five minutes needed to set up your own Google My Business page, if you haven’t already. And if you have, take a minute to review your account and make sure all the information is up to date.
We’ll Keep You Posted.
In tech, things can turn on a dime—but here at enCOMPASS, we’re committed to always keeping our clients in the know about things that could impact their marketing endeavors. To that end, we’ll certainly keep you posted about any new Google services that could benefit your brand.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you might have. We’re always around when you need us!
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