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The Death [of Google Plus]

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

What is Google Plus?

The birth of Google Plus came after years of several corporate and government entities pushing for the creation of an online ecosystem that could replace passwords. While the premise was hopeful, the final product could not compete with the big boys of social media.

The downfall of Google Plus was likely due to its competition, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Google Plus was considered a social media platform, but was never intended to be used as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Instead, Google Plus was intended to be an identity service. If it had succeeded, users would no longer need to remember passwords for each individual site or account held. Instead, Google Plus users would verify their identity so they could become known by the companies they routinely interacted with. This concept is known as identity provision.

Funeral Candles and Flowers

The Downfall of Google Plus

Identity provision was a concept heavily pushed by the government. Between 2009-2015, the government funded several pilot programs to solve this issue. Government operations wanted a way to verify the identity of an individual. Ideally, identity provision would span across borders and online. Again, Google Plus was posed as the answer. Unfortunately, Google Plus was met with competition and a not-so-successful pilot carried out in the U.S.

The program was also met with heavy criticism; individuals feared privacy invasion and the loss of their first amendment right.

In 2015, the government started to make budget cuts. Programs like Google Plus were some of the first to go. The exact reasons that funding was cut are unclear. However, it is believed to be a combination of a shrinking budget and the public-disdain for a government-run identity provider. With funding cut, Google Plus reverted back to a social media network.

As Google Plus pushed on, user ratings continued to fall.

On average, the typical user spent less than 5 seconds utilizing Google Plus. The final straw came as a massive security breach in 2018. Google Plus failed to mention the risk of a security breach that put over 500,000 users at-risk of having their identity hacked. In October of 2018, Google finally announced their plan of laying Google Plus to rest.

Even Google can Fail

Google Plus was not Google’s first failure. Below is a compilation of some of Google’s other fallen-products:

1. Google Wave – A group-emailing option, incorporating too much content. Google Wave was difficult to navigate and failed to realize similar competitors with already-successful capabilities.

2. Google Video – An attempt to oust YouTube as the leading video streamer. Eventually, Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion.

3. Google Notebook and Shared Stuff – A failed first attempt at Google Docs. Users could copy, paste and notate till their heart’s content. However, the program was equipped with a chunky interface and became too difficult for new users to learn.

4. Jaiku – A microblogging site, like Twitter. Unfortunately for Google, Twitter pretty much owns the microblogging-game.

5. Dodgeball – A location-specific social media network, like FourSquare. While the concept eventually became a big hit, it took too long to develop. The program became uninteresting.

6. Google Answers – A question and answer service, like Ask Jeeves or ChaCha. Google failed to monetize the site – allowing any unoccupied freelancer to answer a question.

7. Google Lively – An attempt at virtual interaction, which produced avatars that could socialize. The idea behind the concept was nice, but Google failed in the execution.

8. Wikipedia Alternatives – In an attempt to join Wikipedia in their success, Google developed several Wikipedia-like programs and add-ons. Unfortunately, Wikipedia just can’t be topped.


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