As outlined in an announcement in late January, Google+ account deletions begin today. According to Google, all of your comments and pages will be deleted, and your account will simply vanish into that big digital “cloud” in the sky.
Google had high hopes for Google+ when it launched in 2011 as a counter to the incredibly popular (at the time, and still to this day) Facebook platform. However, Google+ never really gained much traction following its release and the company’s decision to weave Google+ into other unrelated Google services really turned off users and reeked of cramming the service down their throats.
If there was one good thing that came out of Google+, it was the platform’s comprehensive and easy-to-use photos platform. Luckily, Google Photos was spun off into its own platform and serves a free-to-use repository for all of your precious memories with healthy dose of AI sprinkled throughout for face identification, smart editing effects, and auto-generated photo albums.
Although Google+ has pretty much coasted with minimal user engagement since its inception, a three-year-old security flaw in an API that was discovered in early 2018, but wasn’t disclosed until late 2018, was the true catalyst for shuttering the service. Google at the time said that 500,000 users were potentially affected by the exploit which exposed personal information. The company added that 438 applications had access to the API.
"The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations,” said Google in October 2018. “Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+."
Google set an August 2019 termination date for Google+, but then another security breach was detected in December 2018 affecting up to 52 million user accounts. At that point, Google simply decided to cut its losses and pushed up the phaseout date for Google+ to April 2nd 2019.
In the grand scheme of things, the loss of Google+ likely won’t be noticed by many internet users. Despite the fact that there are millions of Google+ accounts out there, Google explained that there was "low usage and engagement" on the platform, and that 90 percent of user sessions lasted less than five seconds.