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Google + is over: get to know the social network path since its creation

Google+, Google's social network, is gone. After years postponing the inevitable, Google announced last month that it is the end of the line for Google Plus. The reasons: low usage and, above all, a failure in data protection.

In March of this year, Facebook was involved in a huge scandal along with the company Cambridge Analytica, making public the huge security breach of Mark Zuckerberg's social network. At the same time, Google investigated its own structure and discovered a bug in Google+ API that allowed third-party applications to access not only the data of users who gave permission but also their connections.

It is now known that Google has been aware of this information leak for months, but has not disclosed it to avoid a scandal. All of this dictated the end of Google +. However, it was not always like this: the Google + project was born full of expectations. In this article, we trace Google Plus’s history, from its inception to the death sentence.

June 2011: the launch

In July 2011 Google unveiled its new social network: Google Plus (G +). The launch came after several attempts to create failed social networks, such as Google Friend Connect (2008-2012) and Google Buzz (2010-2011). Of the social networks operated by Google, only Orkut was successful, especially in Brazil and India, not having great expression in the rest of the globe. Orkut ended in 2014.

Google + was based on the creation of groups of contacts called Circles so that users had more control over how they share and what they share with their different circles (coworkers, family, friends, etc ...). In the two weeks after launch, Google + reached 10 million users. However, the big competitor, Facebook, publicly commented that it did not see Google + as a threat since it didn’t believe that Google + could keep users there.

January 2012: Google + mandatory

Past the initial enthusiasm, and with Google + not having the expected growth, Google began to force users to have a Google+ account to create an account in Gmail. Forced integrations have become one of the major criticisms against Google +.

September 2013: YouTube Invasion

One of the biggest mistakes Google+ made was implemented in September 2013. Then, users were forced to have a Google+ account in order to comment on Youtube. Google's hope was that YouTube's 200 million users joined Google+ in order to add traffic to the social network. However, users did not like this. The integration lasted until July 2015, satisfying users, but not enough to get them back to Google +.

In November 2015, Google+ underwent a major overhaul both visually and operationally. The revamped Google+ focused more on user interests, allowing them to create links around themes, with Communities and Collections. Unfortunately, even with the new organization and colourful look, Google + never recovered: it was the announced end for Google +.

Since then, little has been heard about Google+. The site was still there, but with very little use. Community moderators complained of constant spam, which they could not keep up with. Google's lack of action on this issue clearly demonstrated that saving the social network was not a priority and that the end was near.

Reaching the present, in October 2018 it was revealed that third-party sites had had access to Google+ user profiles since 2015. Google became aware of the problem but decided not to inform users. In total, 496,951 full names, e-mail addresses, birthdates, gender information, profile pictures, places visited, occupation and relationship status were displayed.

Google says it has no evidence that the data was used, but decided to shut down the consumer-driven Google+ site because of its lack of use. The platform will remain available as an internal product for companies and not as a product for the end consumer. It's the end of Google +, which will go down in history as a failed attempt by Google to launch a social network. Unfortunately, consumers do not show much disappointment.

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