Launched in June 2011, Google+ became Google’s answer to Facebook and LinkedIn. A social network for corporates, Google+ allowed individuals to “engage with coworkers on a secure corporate social network”. The idea was that business teams could share updates, ideas and common interests all in real time.
However, in October 2018, just over seven years after the launch, Google announced it would be shutting down Google+, citing low consumer engagement and a data breach that exposed hundreds of thousands of users. Google announced it would allow Google+ to operate until August 2019, giving users time to migrate their information.
So, what was unique about Google+? Here are a few of our thoughts:
Google+ allowed the creation of communities called Circles. Circles gave the option for users to group their Google+ friends based on their relationship; for example, teammates, colleagues, friends outside of work, and the public. This allowed more control over content sharing.
Managers who oversaw Google+ accounts could choose if employees would view, create and interact with public content or if this was restricted to internal work only. These restricted communities offered an extra layer of security where only users from that specified organisation could join the group. This kept information internal and was useful for collaborative working on confidential projects.
In some cases, Google+ replaced internal collaboration programs, which seems great!
So then where did it all go wrong? Why the low customer engagement?
- Google+ was much anticipated and within the first two weeks of the launch, the network reached 10 million users. By the end of 2011, 90 million people had signed up to Google+. However, it would later be revealed that 90 percent of Google+ users were on the site for less than five seconds. The most likely explanation for this was that Google+ came with Gmail accounts, meaning those who used the alternative to Outlook and Hotmail, received a Google+ account automatically, whether they intended to use it or not.
- Google+ enforced a real names policy meaning that those who wanted to use nicknames or maiden names for example were barred from the social network. Having your Google+ account removed meant losing access to Gmail, calendar, documents and other Google products.
- Too much spam. Google+ sent repeat notifications for upcoming events and when friends or even friends of friends shared an update. Users left the social network in droves complaining they couldn’t control the amount of spam they received.
So long Google+! It’s been nice knowing you. We think this is a great opportunity for other social networks, and other businesses in general, to learn from the Google+ experience. If you’d like to put your best foot forward when it comes to your business’ social media presence, contact Green Door Co today.