Google Shares Final Google+ Shutdown Timeline
Google+ has been limping along for the last several years as spambots ran rampant and Google showed little interest in making improvements to the social network. In 2017, Google finally threw in the towel. After discovering a security flaw in G+, it decided to shut down the consumer side of the site. The timeline was vague, but Google has since accelerated the plan. Google+ is shutting down soon, and you’re running out of time to save your data.
You can thank Facebook for the demise of Google+, at least indirectly. Google started a review of Google+ operations following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that consumed Facebook last spring. During that review, Google found a vulnerability that could have allowed scammers to scrape account information from the platform. While the vulnerability was never exploited to Google’s knowledge, it drove home the sorry state of G+’s code. Google also noted that engagement with G+ was so low that most visits were probably misclicks.
Initially, Google planned to close the site for consumers by August 2019 and let G Suite business users continue to use private G+ communities after that. But Google spotted another major bug in late 2018. This one exposed private user data fields to third-party apps. Google says no one outside the company knew about the bug, and it rolled out a patch. However, it also decided to accelerate plans to close the site.
Google didn’t have specific dates in mind in December, but now it does. The shutdown starts immediately with the end of new Google+ profiles. That should take effect in the coming days for all users. Current users will also be unable to make new communities, pages, and events.
Existing profiles will continue to work at a basic level for a few more months. The big day is April 2, 2019. That’s when consumer Google+ pages will go away. It’s unclear if Google will retain any basic profile information like the old Google Profiles that morphed into Google+.
If you want to save your Google+ data, make sure you take care of it before the April 2nd shutdown. Just head over to Google Takeout, sign in, and select all the products you want to save. There are a few bundles associated with Google+ like the G+ stream and +1s on the web. Google Photos used to be part of Google+, but all that content was migrated to the standalone service long ago. Any images you uploaded to Google are safe and sound and won’t disappear with the rest of your Google+ data.