Why Did Google+ Close For Good?
Why Did Google+ Close for Good?

Google’s Social Media Closed its Doors to Consumers

What finally led Google to deem it a commercial failure?

On October 8, Google announced the effective closure of the Google+ social media platform. The platform closed to consumer use, though they’ll be keeping it open for their own internal use. The culprit that Google names in their announcement is security, where they then launch into the description of a new project to increase their security across all their platforms. But is security really the reason, or was it just the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why did Google+ close for good?

A Few “Small” Stats

We can look at a few statistics and other numbers to see that Google+ wasn’t performing so well in the first place. First of all, Google+ was late to the party. Twitter and Facebook launched 7 and 5 years earlier, respectively. Usually, this may not be a problem, but Google+ launched with more limited functionality and less polish than either of the other social media giants. With no compelling reason to switch, Google Plus’ numbers never really took off. At its height in 2015, Google+ had 111 million active users. A seemingly respectable number, but then compare to Twitter’s 335 million (2018) and Facebook’s 2.2 billion (2018). People can use multiple platforms, of course, but the number of people using Google+ is just significantly smaller than the competition.

On top of that, Google said in their report that 90% of their Google+ sessions don’t even last 5 seconds. So of that optimistic 111 million users, only a little more 11 million are actually using it. Google+ just doesn’t grab people the same way as the other platforms.

Why Did Google+ Close For Good? Lack of Originality

Of course, we may never know the answer to the question “why did Google+ close for good?” But for my money, the answer lies in the lack of originality. In essence, Google+ failed to offer anything substantially new to the world of social media. Their biggest innovation was “circles,” basically offering the ability to follow people without them knowing they were being followed. But a large part of social media is interaction with those people – otherwise why not just visit a website or Wikipedia?

In that crucial element of interaction, Google+ didn’t innovate, and worse than that, the experience it offered was widely considered worse than the other social platforms. Namely Facebook, and when Google+ is launching a direct attack against Facebook, that was bound to end poorly. Other outlets like Forbes and Business Insider saw the writing on the wall a long time ago. It seems Google was just waiting on a good reason to put the platform out of its misery.