Google announced this week that they will be closing down Google+. Some people were left wondering what Google+ was, while dedicated fans were wondering what they are going to use now. Here is some background on Google+, why it is being shut down and what are the alternatives.
What is Google+?
In short, Google+ is like Facebook but from Google. This social media platform was launched in 2011 to replace their other services including Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect and Orkut. One feature that made it different to Facebook was the ability to put your friends in different circles. This allowed users to keep their work colleagues separate from their friends and family (something that Facebook has since added).
Many people don’t realise they have a Google+ account, basically anyone who has signed up to Google services has a Google+ account. This includes Gmail, Youtube, Google Home and Android Smartphones. Despite there being millions of accounts, not many people actually used Google+, with most people only using the platform for a few seconds at a time.
Why is it Shutting Down?
What made Google finally decide to shut down the service, was a security breach that earlier this year. Google found a bug in the system that allowed app developers to access personal data of Google+ users. Google claims that no one has taken advantage of this bug and no data was comprised. They will still shut down the service to prevent future breaches.
Despite the limited amount of regular users, they are loyal to the service and disappointed about the decision by Google. There are also many support groups, troubleshooting groups, education panels and discussion boards providing advice to interest groups. With the shut down of Google+, years of accumulated information will be lost.
Alternatives to Google Plus
Facebook: This is the most obvious choice. With over a billion users, it is unlikely to be closing down any time soon. This also means that there is more chance of people joining your discussion group or liking your page. Facebook would be best for gaining more brand awareness and gaining potential customers.
LinkedIn: This is the social media platform for professionals. It provides similar features as Facebook but focused towards business. Use LinkedIn for attracting potential B2B clients and possible future employees. Also great for keeping employees connected.
Google+: You were just reading an article that said Google+ is shutting down, now it is saying to keep using it. Well, the service is still alive, but now is focused on business use. You will need a G Suite account to access it. This business/enterprise account will give you access to Google’s other paid services too. Many businesses use this service to keep their employees connected.
Slack: This service calls itself a collaboration hub, rather then a social platform. It is focused on getting employees connected, working on projects together and providing support groups. There are free and paid versions of the service, and it can connect to third party apps.
Trello: This is another collaboration service. Trello sorts topics and groups into cards and boards, which can be shared among employees. Also integrates with third party apps.
MeWe, Pluspora and Mastodon Social: These are multiple services that are being created by fans of Google+ that are separately trying to save their data. These services also focus on privacy more then the larger social networks. As these are smaller then the other options listed above, it is uncertain how long they will last or what support a business will get when using the service.
Build your own: Choose this option if you want full control of the system. You don’t have to worry about the service selling your data or loosing your data when they go out of business. Unfortunately, for most people this option is quite a challenge, especially for people who are not technically minded. If you are interested in this option, Pixel Layer can speak to you about the process and build the system for you. We will take charge from analysis, development and support. We also provide web hosting, email social media and content creation solutions. Please go to our contact page to arrange a time for you free consultation.