In case you haven't heard, Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+ in the coming months. We knew this was coming, but Google didn't share the actual date with us until recently. We now know that this network will shut down on April 2, 2019.
Why are they doing this?
In October, Google announced that they'd be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ "because of the significant challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations, as well as the platform’s low usage." This was announced after they fixed a security flaw that allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user profile data for as long as 3 years.
In December, Google provided the update that they'd be expediting these changes. In their announcement, they explain, "We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way. With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users."
What does this mean for you?
On April 2, 2019, your Google+ accounts and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and your content will begin to be deleted. This process will take a few months, and during this time, parts of your account may remain visible until the process is completed.
What do you need to do?
Before April, Google is encouraging consumers to take action by saving the content on their Google+ pages. They provide download instructions which explain how to download and save your content, and they also have a list of FAQs if you need more information.
Another step you may want to take is to let your followers know where they can find your content after the shutdown takes place. This can be a post on Google+ that lists other ways to stay in touch including your other social channels, website and blog.
Lastly, many of you probably have G+ as a social sharing option on your website. If so, that should be removed as soon as possible. For example:
If you have any questions or need more guidance on this topic, feel free to contact us here.