Monday, July 28th, 2015: Google announces the end of Google+.
In a blog titled “Everything in its right place,” Google announced their plans for the future of Google+. Google has a wealth of changes in store for the platform, many of which they say will provide better long-term value—for those who use Google+ every day and for those who don’t.
The Changes to Google+
As far as social media sites went, Google+ was always kind of a black sheep. But believe it or not, people did and still do use Google+. Millions of them. To serve their established user base (and inevitably net new ones), Google will be moving forward by tightening up their product—not killing it off ultimately.
Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming changes:
Google+ is moving toward a more “focused experience.” People are using Google+ to have conversations with others who share their interests. Google will be running some features that “aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience” while adding new features such as Google+ Collections that help users organize and enjoy posts better.
No more “mandatory” Google+ account creation. Didn’t it bother you the first time you wanted to comment on a YouTube video, but you didn’t want it posted on your Google+ profile? (Like, say you’re into Viking death metal but also really, really like that new Taylor Swift single that just dropped, which could be bad for your public image.) Well, Google heard and listened—they are separating Google+ from YouTube.
You’ll no longer see that Google+ sign up page when you use any other Google sites. Your Google account and your Google+ page will be separate. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing, shared this little nugget on the matter on his own Google+ post: “We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.”
So, no—Google+ isn’t going away completely. But it will seem less invasive to users who don’t want to use it. Once again, Google proves it knows what’s best for their users—and their brand.
Do You Need to Be On Google Plus?
With all the upcoming changes, you have to ask yourself: Does your business need to maintain a Google Plus page?
That depends. Do you want to increase your chances of showing up on Google searches? Because there’s evidence that having a Google Plus page for your business is excellent for SEO purposes. Google provides businesses with the opportunity to interact with customers in the places and apps they visit and use every day. With the daily ease-of-use of YouTube, Google Plus Photos, and Google Plus Hangouts, customer engagement is nearly limitless.
So for those of you who thought it was dead, face it: The Google+ we knew (and maybe even loved) is going away, and a tighter, more focused product will remain in its place.