Google+Social Media
9. December 2018

I haven’t written much about Google+ lately, mostly because it just seemed to be working well and while it was a bit more quiet than before, it still was a pleasant social network with many unique features. But in early October, Google dropped a bombshell of epic proportions: following an undisclosed and covered up security leak, Google+ will be shut down slowly over the next ten months. Sometime in August 2019, Google+ will cease to exist.  [Update December 10: It gets even worse. Today Google has announced in another blog post that Google+ will be shut down in April next year, not in August because another security bug has been found…]

This is something I never, ever expected to be happening. Google+ had lost a lot of its popularity recently and has been declared dead or a ghost town by many, but for a large loyal group of users, especially photographers, it was the social network of choice. Evidently Google doesn’t think much of those people, some of who were invited to special communities and programs like Google+ Create and others. Kicking everyone out with ten months’ of notice is at least halfway decent, but still feels like being betrayed. In the original announcement Google claims that Google+ “has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds” –  but what about the other 10%? How many users are that? Millions? Tens of Millions? Evidently not enough.

Reading a bit further into the announcement it says “The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.” – which basically means Google thinks it’s too expensive to keep Google+ running. Note the words “consumer version” – the irony is that Google is still offering the functionality of its social network for business use in the commercial $50/year GSuite and is reportedly even giving it new features. This is basically a cruel slap in the face of every loyal and faithful Google+ user. In the light of even more Facebook security scandals, citing the Google+ security breach as a reason to close down the public Google+ is even more insulting.

I’ve been posting almost every day on Google+ since late 2012 and as a user of a completely free and even ad-free product, I know I’m not really entitled to anything, but Google should not just dismiss users like me and many others who actually post original content and make Google+ a truly creative place. There could have been alternatives – making Google+ an ad-supported social network like every other would have been a viable soultion that most users would probably tolerate, but not even that seems to have been considered.  Closing down the consumer version of Google+ is a really bad decision that will leave a very sour note for a company that was once known as nice, trustworthy and user friendly. While the decision is  With this move they are now not much better than anyone else in the business.

The end of Google+ is very sad for me personally because I found so many wonderful people there I would never have met anywhere else and I hope to meet many of them again on other platforms. I met so many wonderful photographers from all around the world, some of which have become really good friends. We founded the WSH Crew Community that supports Cosmoquest, Astronomy Cast, The Weekly Space Hangout and everything around the shows as a Google+ Community after the early days of hanging out in the Google+ Even Pages of the Hangout shows. We luckily have become somewhat platform independent, streaming on Youtube Live and Twitch and using Slack as a quick communications platform, but we still will have to rebuild in a new place after the end of Google+.

Myself, I have decided not to rage quit Google+ and continue posting as I always have, but I have to admit that the announcement really has taken the fun out of everything. This is especially true for my photograpy, because Google Photos has also disabled the direct sharing feature to Google+, not allowing me to post full size pictures comfortably anymore.  Fortunately I have almost no content that exists exclusively on Google+, almost everything I’ve ever written and posted originates on my own websites and will definitively not go away. All the photos I’ve posted on Google+ are also over on the Photo Blog and there may be some posts from last year in the Vintage Computer Collection that need to be backed up, but otherwise my principle of not posting anything worthwile on social media that does not also exist on my own websites has paid off.

After Google+ is gone, I will still be (grudgingly) on Facebook, where I’ve recently switched to posting on a page for technical reasons, Twitter and Instagram, where I’m posting archive pictures at the moment but will probably switch to my daily photo posts at some point. There might be another Google+ alternative soon, but I haven’t really decided to join anything else righr now. I’ve also got a Youtube Channel which I’m not really using much at the moment, but might sometime in the future. You can see all of those in the sidebars of my websites, so if you follow me on Google+ please don’t hesitate to go to one of the other places too where I try to mirror everyhing I post.

None of those platforms have all the great features of Google+ and I will probably never have all the connections and the huge audience I’ve had on G+ again, but especially Instagram is showing some promise at the moment. I will also make an effort to make more use of this blog soon and a long-due renovation of the Photography Blog is also still something I want to do. What I’ve shelved for now are plans to rename and revive DVDLog for now, but I might tackle this next year.

When the time finally comes to say Goodbye to Google+, I will write another post here, but it’s still a long time away. Sadly, you can already feel the network dying a slow death right now with many people leaving early or not posting as frequently as before. I don’t really believe that Google will have a change of heart and continue Google+, but who knows what will happen in the next ten months…?

Kategorie: Google+, Social Media
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