RANT: The REAL Reason Google+ Failed

There is more to Google+'s demise than a simple security flaw.


Google's void of a social network has been my go-to social media platform since it started back in 2011. At the time, Facebook was more mainstream than God, and less intuitive than Photobucket.com's user interface. It was too mainstream for me, and at the time, Google presented worthy competition that encouraged Facebook to improve its bloated website, which ran slower than molasses dripping down the S.A.T scores of the political commentators working for BuzzFeed News.

Unfortunately, Google has opted to end its less than successful social network, and encourages its users to migrate their data out of the website by August of 2019, which is when they plan to shut the whole thing down for consumers.

Google has had a bug in its Google+ API that left some 500,000 accounts vulnerable to potential data leaks, via apps on the Google Play store. Google seems to insist that they've found no evidence to suggest this exploit was ever used, even though it has existed since 2015, and was only ever patched in March of this year.

Google has known about this major security flaw since July, when they conducted a yearly audit of security vulnerabilities known as Project Strobe, but apparently failed to disclose it to the public due to fears of regulation by lawmakers, or potential lawsuits. That being said, rather than patch the bug that's been plaguing the website since 2015 and leave it at that, Google has plans to shut down the consumer version of Google+ by August of 2019.

Users are still angry?

This, obviously, isn't sitting well with fans of Google+, who use it as their de-facto alternative to Facebook. Memelords and common shitposters have been flooding the Meme communities of the site with satire of every format, effectively mocking the generally incompetent management of the social network.

Google's decision upsets Google+ Users in this Detroit: Become Human meme, uploaded just hours after google's announcement.
Nice Googles finish last.
Sums up this situation pretty well, actually.
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Bot Colonization

The criticism comes in light of the sheer negligence this platform has been shown by developers over the past 18 months. Gone are the flood control methods of early 2013 that employed Captcha-like verification in order to ensure that robots were properly discriminated against, and in are the pornographic spam bots that flood every community -- all of whom link to only the most cutting-edge malware attacks if you accidentally clicked on any of them. In fact, porn bots practically run this website, the way spiders practically run Australia. I can't even browse Google+ in public anymore, do to the torrential downpour of low-quality porn that fills up my entire feed.

Adopting old features too late

There was also the matter of G+'s history of late adaptation of common features other social networks had, such as images in comments, or hyperlinks that actually worked properly. But by the time G+ finally implemented important features, it was already well within its death throws, with some of the lowest engagement among social networks out there.

Removing features people liked

Remember when you could organize followers and friends in 'circles'? Remember when Hangouts wasn't an app, but a landmark feature of the Google+ platform? Remember when we used to use Google+ to organize our photos instead of Google Drive? Well, not only were these features removed from Google+, but they have been separated into their own apps on the Google Play Store; further fragmenting the already dwindling user base, as the people who needed those features had to jump from one web app to another more often than a fat Italian plumber in Super Mario Bros.

Google, in their infinite wisdom, removed all the features people wanted, and left the platform feeling emptier than a V-Bulletin message board. It's no wonder Google+ is practically dead; Google was slowly killing it.

Bad for businesses

Ironically enough, after August of 2019, Google+ will not be available for consumers, but still exist for businesses. Unfortunately, this brings us to why Google+ is bad for brand exposure. Businesses, with potentially millions of dollars in advertising revenue, who would be more than willing to pay for a leg up on their competition, have no way of advertising on this platform in any meaningful way. Companies are banned from advertising on almost every community on G+, and the communities that aren't banning ads are flooded with east-Indian pornography click-bait, guaranteed to force any legit ad down a torrential downpour of NSFW.

Rather than putting businesses in a position where they advertise to the consumer, businesses are left in a position where they have to compete with the consumer for exposure, and the odds were already stacked against them, since --like I mentioned earlier-- Moderators in Google+ communities hate companies. Ads are banned in nearly all relevant topics.

At least Facebook has an infrastructure in place that allows you to boost posts for money. Yet, the company that owns the largest ad network in the world won't even let you advertise properly on that very companies' own social network.

The cringy name

Let's be honest: When your platform's name sounds like an 80's telecommunications scam, I'd imagine its hard to hold the public's attention for longer than the initial hype of its announcement. Google Plus doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Let's be honest. It's not hip, it's not catchy at all, and the name couldn't have been cornier if it were high fructose corn syrup. They should have gave the platform a single-word name, like Google Circle, or Google Orbit, to emphasize its pioneering feature --the ability to separate friends and followers into different categories the platform was already calling "circles".

The good things about Google+

The laziness of the Google+ management is a double-edged sword, however. Ironically, the platform owned by one of the most narcissistic, self-important thought police on the internet has resulted in one of the biggest free speech safe havens, if only because Google clearly doesn't care about what's hosted on the near- empty platform anymore.

There was also the "collection" features implemented into G+ in early 2017. It allowed users to organize and separate content on their feed that tackled different subjects, much like how playlists work on YouTube. So far, no other social network has been able to emulate this feature at all, if not very well.

Google+ doesn't need to be your audience. Google+ is over.

Google+ won't die in late August of 2019, because Google+ was already dead. Google seems to have done everything in their power since 2015 to kill it off, from surgically removing its best features, to absolutely neglecting the platform until at least two thirds of it was a caravan of sock-puppet accounts.

What should Google+ users do now?

Chances are, if you were ever using Google+ to begin with, it's because you didn't want to use Facebook. I am one of those people, and I have no intention of going back to Facebook when my profile disappears in August. That being said, If you want to keep in touch with the homies from your Google circles, then might I suggest a similar social network?

Minds.com: It's basically Google+

I know this is like the 4th time I've mentioned this social network this year, but I swear to God, this isn't a paid advertisement.

Minds is a social media platform with Facebook's feature set, YouTube's video sharing features, and Google+'s everything. In fact, it's almost functionally identical to Google+, right down to the way it handles profile images. The main difference being Minds actually allows users to monetize their content. It's definitely worth a look, if you want to migrate to something that feels familiar.
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About Tom Hollis

2 comments:

  1. Few, but good nostalgic memories, gone...

    Coincidencially, I started Google when the errors were already hopeless to fix

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