Following Security Lapse Google is Shutting Down Google+ For Consumers

Hermina Lezama

Hermina Lezama

11/26/2018

Google has finally made the decision to shut down their Google+ platform for consumers after an undisclosed security flaw exposed thousands of users’ profile information. Google has no evidence that the third-party apps and developers misused the users’ information and patched the bug in March 2018; therefore notice of the information breach was not given to the public.

According to Google officials, “As it stands, the platform currently has very low usage and user-engagement, and we think it would be best for everyone to cease all consumer services on Google+ and focus the product more towards enterprise.” Enterprise customers of Google+ can expect new features that are purpose-built for businesses and privacy adjustments for higher security.

What Shutting Down Google + Means for Consumers

On April 2, 2019, Google will begin the process of shutting down Google+ for consumers and deleting all of the content produced on the accounts. Those who used the service will be able to download and migrate their data by using the company’s download and save feature. In order for consumers to ensure that their valuable data is transferred in its entirety, Google strongly recommends that users complete the transfer process before April 1, 2019. Consumers can expect this process to take a few months to complete.

To give you a better idea of what to expect from the Google+ shut down, we’ve compiled a list of a few key events that will take place starting February 4, 2019:

  • Users will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.
  • The Google+ Sign-In button for 3rd-party websites and apps will stop working, and in most cases, will be replaced by a Google sign-button.
  • The Google+ comment feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. Furthermore, all Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019.
  • G-Suite customers will still have access to their Google+ accounts and can expect to see a new layout and have access to new features.
  • Starting as early as March 1, 2019, Google+ Community owners and moderators will be able to download and save additional data including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community.

In addition to the events mentioned above, Google has announced that they will continue their progressive shutdown of Google+ APIs, which are commonly used by developers. While this process began on January 28, 2019, Google says that developers can expect all Google+ APIs to completely shut down on March 7, 2019. Google says “developers should have received one or more emails listing recently used Google+ API methods and Google+ OAuth scope requests in their projects.” Google strongly recommended that developers search for and remove any dependencies from their Google+ APIs applications, regardless of whether or not they have received an email from Google. Developers can expect the following commonly used APIs to be shut down:

  • Google+ REST API
  • Google+ Web API
  • Google+ Android SDK
  • Google+ Domains API
  • Google+ Pages API

 

Furthermore, developers can expect the following changes to occur during the shut down:

  • As of March 7, 2019, all OAuth token requests with scopes starting with “plus.” (i.e. “plus.me”, “plus.login”, “plus.profile.emails.read”, etc) will fail upon request. Users may notice that the requests may start to intermittently fail as early as February 15, 2019.
  • Developers are encouraged to start using the Google Sign-in authentication system as the Google+ Sign-In feature will be shut down on March 7, 2019.
  • Over the Air Installs are now deprecated and have been shut down.
  • Google+ integrations for web or mobile apps will be shut down.

While these changes may seem like Google is completely moving away from Google+, the reality of the situation is that the tech giant has decided not to scrap the Google+ platform entirely. Instead, Google has chosen to shift gear by investing more effort into Google+ for enterprise organizations.

How Shutting Down Google+ Affects Users Google My Business Accounts

Google+ is only one small aspect of a business’s entire Google experience and sits within the Google My Business (GMB) command center. Google+ represents companies on Google’s social media network and is very similar to Facebook when it comes to its core features (share company updates, post links, connect with others, etc.). Unfortunately, Google+ did not flourish as the social network that Google wanted it to be, and now after the security breach, is being eliminated completely.

For business owners who work closely with 1SEO I.T. & Digital Marketing, rest assured that our digital agency is already diligently working on the issue and moving your accounts over to Google My Business and Google Posts in place of Google+. Below, our Chief Operating Officer CJ Bachmann goes a little more in-depth on how this shut-down may be affecting your business.

So, What Are Google Posts?

As CJ mentioned, 1SEO will begin using Google Posts in place of Google+ so that small and medium-sized business owners can continue to promote their brand and special offerings on the Google My Business platform.

Like GMB listings, Google Posts is a free tool that allows business owners to advertise on their company listing. Depending on the nature of the search query, the Google Post may show up in the search or map results. This grants business owners the opportunity to really grab their audience’s attention with a description of the offer/promotion/event, and a corresponding image, video, or GIF. Anyone can then share the Google Post on social media to help further promote it.

The moral of the story here is that Google Posts provide the exact same functionality as Google+ in terms of connecting with your customers, if not do more, and to also help your brand stand out from the crowd with unique and captivating messages.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

In the upcoming months, while Google starts to phase out their Google+ service completely, our digital marketing agency is here to answer any of your questions, comments, or concerns you may have about Google My Business, Google+, and Google Posts.

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