It is now common knowledge: in a few months, Google+ will no longer exist, or at least not in the guise in which we are all used to knowing it. The platform will undergo a total revolution in a short time, but what has led the American company to make what is in fact a real backward march?
Google+ was created in June 2011 in Mountain View as an attempt, in intention, to bring together the best features of the main social networks in use at the time, obviously taking advantage of the possibility of widespread distribution thanks to the exposure given by Google itself. In fact, however, despite its good intentions, the platform has never been particularly successful, remaining anonymous and basically in the shadow of other already existing applications such as Facebook.
As a matter of fact, it was practically imposed on a large number of users through registration linked to other channels that they already used on a daily basis (such as YouTube and Gmail), but it was never really understood or accepted: the truth is that almost none of these ‘faithful’ have ever really understood how to use this social network, and out of more than 400,000 registered users, only 34,000 are really active, i.e. 1% of the registered users. This is undoubtedly the main reason why we can in a sense say that its ‘end’ has been marked for some time now; but not only this: the straw that broke the camel’s back was not in fact the low level of use.
The most recent and definitive problem is rather represented by the Data Leak of which the social network would have been victim, which would have compromised the data (names, e-mail addresses, gender, profile photos, profession, places visited and more) of almost 500 thousand users. The news was reported by several newspapers, but the first to have launched it was the Wall Street Journal: in essence, a bug in the API, the platform’s security system, would have exposed users’ personal information since 2015, allowing third-party developers – as many as 438 applications – to access it.
Although Google has taken a position on the matter, claiming that there is no evidence that such information has been used, the vulnerability of the platform has been exposed, and the choice has therefore been to close down definitively this ‘ghost’ social network that has never really taken off. The closure will now take place gradually: until the end of August 2019, all users will have access to the system, after which Google+ will see its initial nature transformed and will remain active only for companies. A failure, probably, foretold.