Google+, we hardly knew ye.
Google’s plans to shut down the social media network — announced this week amid reports of a data breach — brings a close to a seven-year existence met with confusion, indifference and ridicule.
The network made its debut in June 2011 as an answer to Facebook and Twitter.
Former Google employees say the network never took off because it was “late to market” and “didn’t move into mobile fast enough,” according to Business Insider.
Another former employee said the main problem of Google+ is that it tried to replicate Facebook and was motivated from “a competitive standpoint.”
The idea was that users would be able to share information globally and build “circles” with different social groups. It also gained early attention for its “hangout” video chat capabilities.
But without connections to third-party apps and clunky sharing capabilities, Google+ failed to live up to its early hype or keep its audience.
Associated Press reporter Mae Anderson wrote about the platform’s potential — and potential limitations — in a 2011 column, calling it a “Facebook wannabe” and stating that the network has “a few gaping holes.”
“I find Google Plus a compelling answer to some existing problems in social media … but it all depends on how many people sign up,” Anderson wrote.
As the platform faded into irrelevance, even senior managers stopped using it by 2015.
The company announced on Monday that a glitch in its software allowed third-party users to access private information.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Google intentionally avoided announcing the issue because of fear of backlash.
The first public announcement of the scandal came in a Monday blog post in which the company says it determines when to notify users about privacy concerns.
“Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response,” Google Fellow and Vice President of Engineering Ben Smith said in the blog. “None of these thresholds were met in this instance.”
Google says it will implement the shut-down of the network for consumers over a 10-month period and officially eliminate it by August 2019.