Google the social network is closed. Google+ is shut down today, with all profiles and pages to be deleted.
The announcement has caused confusion among some Google users; the company made it easy for people to create a Google+ page by accident, leaving many unaware they had joined the social network in the first place. We answer some key questions surrounding the closure.
Any Google+ pages you created, as well as photos and videos stored in your Google+ album archive.
The deletion does not affect other Google services. Photos and videos stored in Google Photos, for instance, will not be affected. Your Google account, which is linked to services such as Gmail, YouTube and Maps, will continue to work, but your Google+ account, which was only used for the social network, will be deleted.
If you have an account, Google will email you – it may have already done so – telling you that “your personal Google+ account is going away on 2 April 2019”.
If you are still unsure, you can check at plus.google.com. If you log in using your Google account details and still have a button on the left side of the screen that says “Join Google+”, then you are not a member of the social network and nothing will be deleted.
The company’s official explanation is that it decided to shutter the site “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations”. Perhaps those “challenges” largely relate to a data leak in the social network that it discovered in March 2018 but did not disclose for six months.
That leak “potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts”, allowing third-party applications to access information marked as private, although Google said it had found “no evidence that any profile data was misused”.
The company had initially planned to shut the social network down in August this year, but in November it discovered another bug that gave apps access to non-public information, and brought forward the shutdown to April.
Nothing. If you have a Google+ account but have never used it – which is easy, because for many years Google all but forced users to create an account to access common functions such as the ability to comment on YouTube videos – then you can sit back and let it be deleted in two months’ time.