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Google+ for consumers will shut down on April 2nd (techcrunch.com)
160 points by prostoalex 17 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 155 comments

The real tragedy is that g+ wrecked Google. It was a nice place to work that I was proud of. They got scared of Facebook and threw out reason, taste, common sense, and ethics in an incompetent desperate rush to win Social. It was deeply saddening to watch it happen. Now the parasite is gone but too late for the host.

As an employee on another team, I remember at launch when the extended Plus team got flown to Hawaii to celebrate, around the time their marketing made its way on to the homepage. I sat incredulous, back in the office with my colleagues thinking how gross it was that an obvious failure from the off got rewarded and supported in such a manner. It marked a real shift in my personal perspective of the company.

I realised much later that the team were effectively being rewarded for having being punished prior to launch. The offsite was an apology for the grotesque demands put on them during the extended crunch.

The commitment to the product was so complete that nobody involved could see the wood for the trees, and we saw the damaging impact of reality distortion first hand.

> The commitment to the product was so complete that nobody involved could see the wood for the trees, and we saw the damaging impact of reality distortion first hand.

This is where I find this 'you must have passion for your job & company' to be problematic. You get this worker cult environments where how dare someone use a competitor typer scenarios. Or managers surrounding themselves with yes men.

A bit of neutrality in job attitude is good. You still take pride in doing a good job but the pride should be in your actions, not the company/product.

No, Google wrecked Google+. It was very promising in its early days and many considered it the best social network at the time, but Google kept mismanaging it: forcing YouTube users on it which nobody wanted, removing popular features, unwanted redesigns, etc.

Google had something really nice. Sure, it wasn't as big as Facebook, but the idea that something needs to be as big as Facebook to count as successful is incredibly harmful. Google+ was successful; it was home to lots of vibrant communities, it launched businesses, it brought people together and helped them organise cool stuff. It's just not what Google wanted it to be, and they destroyed it trying to force it to become something it wasn't.

And dropping Google+ (after dropping a number of other Google applications), has made people very distrustful about Google. This was a group of Google-loving early adopters who now distrust anything that Google does.

The blame for that falls almost entirely on Vic Gundotra, the VP who was in charge of the Google+ project. From what I understand, many, many Googlers hated him, and actually left the company specifically because of him.

When I joined, Google was driven by wonder and idealism. Google+ was the onset of when Google became a fear-driven company. It was very sad to watch that shift.

Agree with this. I worked at Google for years and really enjoyed it. When Larry and Vic and Urs pushed social on everybody and tied bonuses to it (I worked in tech infra on cloud stuff, far from social) it was a big FU to the employees.

Yup. :'(


Why would you make such an unfounded assumption and ask a loaded question?

OP _does_ work for WhatsApp and is fairly well-known in general as being the creator of iTerm2.

Which means...what, exactly? That OP is not allowed to complain about the previous company because he/she works at a different company with its own problems?

> That OP is not allowed to complain about the previous company because he/she works at a different company with its own problems?

I was addressing foo101 who stated that gman83 asked a loaded, unfounded question. The question is not unfounded because OP works for WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook.

Well it's true that he works for Facebook, and I found his comment a bit rich coming from someone who now works there. But I admit it was a dumb comment to make.

What no one has mentioned so far is that this will have a direct impact on any sites, forums, apps, etc. that use Google+ Oauth for Google log in. My own support forum does and I received my first email about this only a couple of days ago.

>Please update your projects listed below by March 7, 2019 and ensure they are no longer using Google+ APIs, or requesting Google+ OAuth scopes.

Sure, it won't be that difficult to change, but this isn't something you do every day. You do it once and then forget about it. The initial investigation of how to add a Google login and then implementing it was done 2 years ago -- now I have to go off and research and learn how to do it all again in a different way.

Google's own tutorials for node.js recommends using passport.js with google oauth: https://cloud.google.com/nodejs/getting-started/authenticate...

But that library hasn't been updated to not use the deprecated api yet: https://github.com/jaredhanson/passport-google-oauth2/issues...

And even when the fix lands, you still need to make specific code changes for it.

They can't possibly expect everyone to fix their social login code in time right? 50k weekly downloads: https://www.npmjs.com/package/passport-google-oauth20

jaredhanson who maintains passport-google-oauth2 seems unfortunately MIA since October, and it seems he's the only one that can update that package. Google says they are degrading services already (starting Jan 28), so some sites could start seeing problems already. The fixes to the passport-google-oauth2 are nontrivial and require a fork (not just a configuration change). Fortunately, there's a lot of discussion on this PR: https://github.com/jaredhanson/passport-google-oauth2/pull/5...

At the bottom of the PR discussion, there is a link to a fork that somebody created here: https://github.com/passport-next/passport-google-oauth2 As far as I can tell, the only way to continue using node + google oauth right now is to switch to using that hard-to-find fork. That's what I've done with https://cocalc.com.

They probably don't expect everyone to fix their stuff in time, but I'm sure the people who actually care about their product working are already taking care of it. Social logins aren't exactly rocket science. Especially when you use a library that does all the work for you.

We've received such an email on 2019-01-29, warning us that some parts of the API may fail as early as 2019-02-15 or 2019-01-28. IOW, breakage may have begun before the notification. Fun.

Interesting to hear that it's not just G+ users who are getting dumped on by Google here.

Dropping functionality the day before the notice is sent is ... troubling.

As I've noted about several similar such instances previously: this is the company that wants us to trust it to build driverless cars and other such systems? Vastly better process and respect is required.

Idea: an auth service that just interfaces with other auth services.

It will be free and will charge a fee for the following:

1. auto upgrading from discarded services

2. retrieving passwords that are forgotten

3. Changing around your login id (automatically) for various services so you won't have to remember what you used

But who watches the watchers? It would be supremely ironic if such a service shut down.

You're right. It seems as though the service (perhaps every critical service) has to open source their code, let you self host, and then offer their own hosted version for a price.

Yeah, that makes sense to me. I'm not sure how profitable that can be, but it'd certainly be ethical and useful to people. I do think it'd be sustainable at least.

g+ oauth already aren't working properly on a couple of sites that i frequent(older chatboards)

I'm a little saddened to hear this because there's some high quality posts on Google+ that we're going to lose (Linus and other FOSS people posted on there.) I always enjoyed reading some of the things they put on there.

Email me breadcrumbs and I’ll get them into the Wayback Machine.

Haha, recognized that one from the URL, was going to post it too if someone else didn't. Ironic that that's the most famous post on Google+.

I'd love to have a general archive of all public Google+ posts. I've seen some great and valuable discussions there.

It is in progress with ArchiveTeam.

Also: if you have a list of content you want to save to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, you can submit that using the URL:

Where <URL> is the archive to save.

This can easily be scripted to run off a large list of URLs and submitted automatically. I've done this on over 10,000 URLs over about 2 hours.

    curl -s -I -H "Accept: application/json" "https://web.archive.org/save/${1}" |
    grep '^x-cache-key:' | sed "s,https,&://,; s,\(${1}\).*$,\1,"
Save that as "archive-url".

    xargs -I{} -P 10 -m 1 archive-url {} <urlfile
Where urlfile is a list of items to archive.

This is a legit use of the Wayback Machine, FWIW.

There are also browser extensions and a (currently broken) DDG bang: !save

There is an ArchiveTeam project to save public content from G+ to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine GoogleMinus:


I think the real reason why G+ didn't take off is because younger people were oversaturated with social media networks and most older people had already learned how to use Facebook. I think if I approached any of my older relatives with G+ they would have surely said "But I just learned how to use Facebook, now you want me to learn ANOTHER website!" The fact that any of my aging relatives is on Facebook is a miracle in and of itself.

I think G+ had done everything correctly, it was just too late. Same reason why there are still no real competitors to Facebook.

The real question is... How does Google unfuck all of the mandatory G+ integration that they forced on everyone?

The big issue for me and a lot of the community was their policy on mandatory use of real names. Facebook wanted to own your online identity but Google wanted to own your real-life identity. The moment they started pushing that policy G+ turned into a ghost town.

The mandatory G+ integration, btw, was one of the core goals of G+ IMO. They wanted to tie everyone's accounts together into a single entity (again, owning your identity) and G+ was the chosen vehicle.

What they enforced, for a short period, was not so much that you had to use your real name, but that you had to use a name that didn't sound unusual. Having an unusual real name could get you blocked, whereas a common sounding fake name was okay.

Eventually they realised this was stupid and stopped enforcing this. It was probably their earliest misstep, but hardly their greatest. The forced integration was far worse.

Wasn't there a scare back then that, if you added G+ to your account and then Google decided for some reason that your real name wasn't your real name, you'd lose your gmail account? That's the reason I've never logged into Youtube - I didn't want to risk losing the email account (even though it's always been under my real name).

They have thankfully stopped trying to force that link between your account and YT. Was so annoying when happening.

Isn't Facebook requiring real names too?

Their policies are contradicting. On one page it states that you should use the name that you guy by in real life. On another page it says you may be required to show proof of that being your name.



Ironically yeah, Facebook tried the real-names thing on a while after G+ did it but I think at that point G+ had lost momentum and everyone had shifted back to Facebook, so network effects stopped it from going anywhere.

I thought they'd also backtracked from that due to the obvious privacy-related corner cases (closeted drag queens being outed, peoples' locations being revealed to estranged abusive exes, that sort of thing) but I haven't looked into it in a long while.

Mandatory real names were retracted after a bit, I believe?

I think they were, but by then everyone I knew had stopped using G+.

G+ was the typical google launch. It failed on too many levels from the beginning, took a long time to get their shit together and had too many scandals/annoying traits which pushed people away. And at the end it's main sellingpoint still was just that it was not-facebook.

Googles biggest fail was probably that Plus was too nerdy, and that they tried to sweep everything into it. Youtube, Reader, Photos, even the search was harmed by it. And at the end the people just got another unsexy service where nobody they cared for was available. Google should have done it the google-way, lettingnit work alongside other services and on it's own, instead of trying to copy facebook and then forcefeed everything to everyone.

> Googles biggest fail was probably that Plus [...] tried to sweep everything into it. Youtube, Reader, Photos, even the search was harmed by it

Everything but events integration with calendar, which would have been a potentially killer feature. 90% of what I use Facebook for is messenger and coordinating group get-togethers. Google Calendar already had options for public/shared events; I find it baffling that Plus didn't try to take advantage of that.

There's at least an option for events now: https://gettogether.community/

It uses ActivityPub, but I don't know of any primetime-ready messengers that use AP yet. This is all I could find: https://github.com/fedimos

Events and hangouts were a magical combination on Google+. Perfect for organising online RPG games (G+ was very popular among roleplayers). People were really angry when they killed that.

It also had some very opaque errors that never were resolved, suffering from the same lack of customer support Google is well-known for. At one point I tried setting up a business page on it, but something in the verification got “stuck” causing most actions to edit anything to error out with no recourse.

On the contrary my mom (age 60+) finds G+ more intuitive and easier to use than Facebook, and the fact that there is less noise there is a positive for her.

I think G+ could've had its place in the world if Google allowed it to be its own thing rather than just a competitor for Facebook.

Actually, the one that will kill Facebook will be... itself. It's been alienating more and more people. The older generation will eventually die out leaving maybe just businesses, pages and some groups.

But facebook already knows this and has two solutions: Whatsapp and Instagram. You ain't going anywhere.

The real tragedy here is the destruction of Reader for a failed and ill-conceived product.

Had Google used the passionate Reader community as a base to build a high quality content based social network, they would be a powerful force in social and could have an enormous positive social impact.

Reader had nothing to do with Google+, yet the comparison is still relevant. It would have been much easier to turn Reader into a social network than to create one from scratch.

It's still shocking to me that Google shut down reader. I'm not sure I've come across any company that has abandoned such a beloved product.

A system that does both social networking and RSS reading, and enables blog sharing and commenting in a integrated way, could be absolutely perfect.

of course it does.

when they decided to shut it down it was because they wanted to channel Readers users to Google+

They shut Reader down specifically to shift users over to G+, instead of turning Reader into a broader social network.

This would be like if Mark Zuckerberg had shut down Facebook b/c he didn't want to build a yearbook product and started Socialbook to replace it.

G+ was _the_ place to be for one of my hobbies (OSR/DIY D&D). A massive blow.

I made jokes about if we hang in there and don't get taken in the Google+ Rapture, things will go on like normal. Turns out G Suite users get to keep G+ and I'm a GAFYD user since the beginning. Yay for me?

Everyone is now displaced. Facebook is universally reviled as an option, Mastodon/Diaspora has attracted a whopping several folks. Some others tried starting forums to no avail.

Discord seems to be doing well for many but not a majority. MeWe is the only platform that people seem to "get" but it has a controversy to it.

Nevertheless, the blogs still seem to be ticking along.

> Nevertheless, the blogs still seem to be ticking along.

Unless something changes fundamentally about the web, which I doubt, blogs will be here long after current social networks are dead. RSS / Atom too, for as long as there are blogs around, in spite of what some people would like you to believe.

And if there's one thing that you can say about the Internet, is that the Internet's stack of technologies is long lasting and the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So yeah, if you want to publish content for others, the safest bet is to have your own blog. With RSS and email subscriptions. And your own domain of course.

Blogs are much closer to the way the Web should be than social networks are. Have your own space. The only thing is that I would like an easy system that would allow me to follow multiple blogs in a social-network style stream/feed.

I hear Hubzilla might do something like that.

I may be missing something obvious here, but isn't that literally what RSS is for?

Which is actually how I found this article.

RSS is for following blogs, but not specifically for integrating them into social networks. That's the thing I want.

So, Medium?

Blogs, and new-form blogs -- static site generators, high-feature Federated platforms like Friendica and Hubzilla, pervasive RSS (see for example Reddit, which really does well here), etc. -- are all very exciting and promising parts of this period.

Mastodon/Diaspora seems like a pretty good fit for a small and tightly-knit community like Old School Revival D&D. (Granted I had to Google that acronym to find out what it was, so I can't claim to know much about the subculture. :) )

A few other smaller subcultures have gotten a foothold on Mastodon; it's far from a ghost town. Another upshot is that unlike anything else you listed, it's decentralized and federated, so your instance could never be taken down.

The problem I have with Mastodon is exactly the same I am encountering with MeWe: when I tell friends/aquaintances that I am moving to MeWe I get the chat/email equivalent of a groan.

Nobody (except a small minority even among techies/geeks/nerds) really want to go through the hassle of joining yet another platform.

Does not matter if it is free, has better quality, finer controls, is federated or not, moderated or not.

I managed, years ago, to convince a decent number of people to follow me on Google+, but the sad reality that now it's either Facebook (which I never created a profile for) or "don't call us, we'll call you...".

Do you think allowing people post directly without registration would help? (as long as spam was controlled properly)

Actually, what I would like to have (currently missing from MeWe), is the ability for people to see what I post as "Public" without needing an account to MeWe. Which was, for me, an important feature of Google: if I wanted to broadcast a link or some content I could publish as public (so everyone on Google+ would see it if they visited my profile or were already linked to me) but I could also send the link to the G+ post via email or chat to people who had no Google account and they would still be able to see it (even if they would not be able to comment without logging first). See what I did in this same thread for a public post that I would like to have available on the Internet Archive... it is just a link and you can read it without needing a G+ account.

I proposed it as a per-pay feature to MeWe but so far I only got a canned "thanks for your suggestion" - my main problem is that even what they call "Pages", like the BBC MeWe page is visible only inside the app itself.

Yeah, lack of public posts is a big problem with MeWe. I think they recently added it, but you need to pay for it?

What I would like to see is some general, decentralised standard in the style of email and usenet, where everybody has their own identity they can use to post and respond, and block content from trolls and spammers without them easily circumventing that block (well, that clearly doesn't work with email, but spam filters do a decent job).

No, you do not to pay for anything but the problem is that "Public" (at least for now) just mean that "if another MeWe user (who isn't already a contact) visits your profile they will be able to see all your posts that you have marked as public".

This helps a bit when you are, for example, deciding if you want to invite them to join your group, or have received a request from them to connect or stuff like that: before that you had only the masthead pic and their nick to decide (as most people do not even bother to fill in their profile).

But [I did test it myself] when you try to copy the url of your MeWe profile or a link to a specific post of yours and open it in a different browser you will be asked to login to MeWe.

"Pages", as I said, despite being designed for special entities like fan clubs, newsagencies and so on, behave the same way: outside of MeWe you cannot access them. They are cheap though (like 3$/month) so my suggestion to MeWe was something like:

"Please allow me to be able to make Public posts available to non-MeWe members. I will be glad to pay for this a monthly fee in the ballpark of what you ask for Pages, and it would be ok if - in case I stop paying - all my Public post revert to the current behaviour (and become visible again outside in case I start paying again)".

Looked reasonable to me, and I understand they are looking for ways to monetize some of the services... except that at the moment you can pay for stuff like "an extra set of emoticons/avatars" or "Activate Night Mode"... :-/

I'm keen on Mastodon/Diaspora but there are loads of non-technical people out there who say things like "looks like the Linux of social" and dismiss it. (The Linux of social? EXCELLENT!)

> Some others tried starting forums to no avail.

As someone who never really used G+ or FB, why isn't forums working out for them? It seems like the perfect fit for a narrow interest based community.

Plus people already know how to use them, as they were around before Social, and it should be a natural thing to return to. Are there discoverability problems?

Two-pronged IMO and YMMV:

- Lack of a mobile app as nice as the G+ one. Is commonly stated reason why e.g. Diaspora is a no-go and MeWe got traction.

- The niche hobby evolved and the interests central to the forums which spawned it are now considered retrograde or orthodox. OK for some.

MeWe's "controversy" is that it's a hive of fascist, white nationalist, rascist, antivaxxer, lunatic conspiracy theory, and other activity, apparently with the full awareness and implicit if not explicit endorsement of the CEO, Mark Weinstein.

I've raised this issue with several researchers into online / computational propaganda (one well-known researcher's response began "Holy moly"), and listed advisors of MeWe, who've described the situation as "troubling".



I'm seriously thinking of going back to usenet. I wonder if anyone is still there...

Curious to know the MeWe controversy. I just quit Facebook after being 3 day censored for posting a link to a Twitter video that was played on CNN. Joined MeWe to hopefully help build a replacement network.

When I announced (on Google+) that I was moving to MeWe and was, obviously, suggesting everyone to follow me there I got a couple of comments saying that MeWe was some sort of New-Right bastion.

To be honest, I have not encountered any of that, but then I have only joined (or created) a very small number of groups and they were all for specific hobbies/interests.

Another (possible) problem is mature content and sex bots. The former is easy to solve, you just block or leave users/groups that post mature stuff if this is not your cup of tea. Bots are a bit more annoying but every group has at least a moderator so they are quickly disposed of.

The alt-right, conspiracy, white nationalist, fascist, Nazi, anti-vaxxer, and related content dominate the publicly visible groups under MeWe's topics.

See: https://old.reddit.com/r/plexodus/comments/a1jqsy/mewe_a_tri...

Yeah, there are Nazis on MeWe. But as far as I know, there are Nazis on every single social network, so that hardly seems like a strike against MeWe. There's a claim that the company specifically targets Nazis to invite them over when they've been banned somewhere else, though, and that makes some people itchy.

Yes - that's the controversy I'm referring to. I'm on MeWe and haven't encountered any people there that I have followed specifically discussing far-right/alt-right topics except for a couple of folks posting in groups who have made a brand of it (e.g. "The RPG Pundit" and the ex-CEO of Milo Inc. who published an OSR D&D retroclone), but at the time I joined up, all of the political groups in the directory were right-wing or nationalist, and this coinciding with the time Gab was shut down.

The sex bot thing has been a problem for a while. I _think_ group owners have been blocking them, and of course I block them, but they still somehow linger to post, and the notifications of their post are not blocked. At least that's how it was about a week ago - seems to have been fixed, or the bots in question have been eradicated.

Google+ was one of the few places on the Internet I could go to be alone. Everywhere else seems so damn full of people.

Your comment is good as a joke. If it is not, it's sad.

Try going on a hike sometime...

Goes to show that aggressively pushing products down user's throats doesn't work in the end.

Even to leave a star rating for an app on the play store, without a comment, you had to have a G+ profile. It was idiotic how much they pushed Google+. Also a bad name. "Plus".... plus what? Who knows!

I haven't rated apps in years thanks to this policy. I wonder what other quality of life improvements will resurface after G+ for consumers is shuttered.

I was onstage at Google IO one year (Urs and I launched Google Compute Engine). ALl our practice sessions were preempted by Vic Gundotra (launching G+ Events) and Sergey Brin (launching Google Glass with the most epic tech demo I've ever seen). But now, the first two are dead products while GCE makes $$$ for Google. It was a real FU to me and my coworkers, and even then it was obvious that social and glass weren't billion-dollar products.

The lack of activity in this thread is quite appropriate. Another one bites the dust.

Does this mean we'll get our plus operator back?

Does this mean we'll get our Google Reader back?

Why feed Google even more data about your interests? Just use a local RSS aggregator.

It disappeared long before Google+, didn't it?

But yeah, I want plus back too.

I was never really sure what they were trying to do with marketing it, the feature set, or the vanilla design. Pretty sure my first and only post on there was "RIP Google+ 2011-2011"

For years I have resisted allowing the creation of a google+ profile on my behalf. I wonder, on April 2nd will my plus-less YouTube account finally be able to comment and message again?

That’s interesting, because I haven’t been able to log into my YouTube account since Aug 2015 after they suspended a channel where I was uploading educational videos about Linux-related stuff.

I remember someone submitted a bunch of DMCA requests, and at the time the refutal process was very slow, I couldn’t prove the ownership of my videos and the channel was suspended. Since then, every time I click the “Sign in” button on YouTube, I get redirected to this page [1].

Recently I found a channel with videos downloaded from my channel, so I assumed they were the ones who submitted the DMCA requests years ago. I went ahead and pulled the same charade, I asked some of my friends to report those videos as “offensive” and a few days later they were removed.

[1] https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/40039?p=youtube

Once Google+ for consumers is gone, what will be the state of YouTube URLs? Let's say I want a specific URL on YT. Like, say, www.youtube.com/user/mylastname or something like that. How can I obtain that after April 2nd?

I haven't found a good alternative yet. There doesn't seem to be a consensus.

Ideally I'd like a place where people can subscribe without being my friend, you don't need to jump through hoops to leave a comment, and I can moderate the comments. (Delete if necessary.)

Traditionally that would be a blog, but I don't know how many people would subscribe these days.

your own domain, with a wordpress.org blog, free. does comments and moderation (better when you use some anti-spam like geoip block)

plugins so visitors can get more then rss feed, but get emailed notifications for new posts and for comment threads.

people who don't want to do updates / backups (can be automated) - can just get a wordpress.com thing going, has most functions, and has a user to user subscribe kind of functionality for other wordpress.com users.

There are some plugins to cross post with twitter and fbook, but fbk apis have changed a few times and I don't use it, so no idea if they work awesome or have issues these days.

better yet add the buddypress plugin and get your friends to get thier own profile on your network and get others to do the same.

Have you thought about just running a forum?

Isn't Facebook just a form of microblogging?

Sort of.

One of the biggest problems with Facebook is that most of the site is inward-facing. That is, unless you are on and registered with Facebook, you cannot view content.

(That's a fault shared with numerous other sites, FWIW.)

Facebook may be able to pull this off, for now. Almost no site not called "Facebook" (or its equivalent category leader) can do so -- you simply need an overwhelming network effect OR an exceptionally compelling founding cohort.

Blogs are to a near totality universally accessible, at least to read, if not comment. That's not quite definitional, but true enough in practice to be a category marker.


Reddit is reasonably good, and I've used it more-or-less as a blog since 2013. I've ultimately found it frustrating and limiting, largely through a broken Notifications mechanism, and a tendency to eat rather than promote real conversation.

See: https://old.reddit.com/r/plexodus/comments/acg9zf/alternativ...

This isn't an absolute showstopper, but it's quite disappointing. One of the weird things about G+ was -- as small and disliked and annoying as it was, some really, really, really good conversations got going there.

That's some lightning I'd like to rebottle elsewhere.

Facebook does have this functionality. If you're willing to use Facebook.

I have a Facebook account, but I don't want to spam my friends and relatives with my blogging. It has to be opt-in.

Then make a Page.

I know a few people who maintain Pages specifically for this reason.

Maybe you don't see the annoying messages and overlays Facebook throws at users who are not logged in, because you're always logged in.

More generally, I feel Google should wherever possible have an exit plan for any product they launch. Make sure the account/code systems etc can be separated if they wish.

This big launch and plug pull are an ongoing problem and creating loss of trust and uptake.

A good solution IMO would be to (wherever viable) let willing devs continue a product when Google decide they are out. Be it open source the project, or offer it to teams that worked on it if they want to continue it as a business under a new brand.

It served well as a private group place to post stuff, and a nice public place to follow others who wanted to type more then twitter allowed.

Anyone know if we can expect to get "+" back as a search operator? (it used to be, then they dropped it with Google+ launch)

Seriously. That's exactly the same thing that went though my mind when I read the title.

They obsessed over the plus like crazy. Removing it from search, removing it as the icon to open a new tab in Chrome. I still remember thinking "This is so petty and trivial. If Google+ is so great, it'll stand on its own feet, regardless of the number of plus signs"

April 1st would be a much more appropriate date for this monumental screw up.

In some time zones, your wish will come true :)

California is only a few hours away from the intl date changing line though. Most of the planet is in front of it timezonewise. If they pull the plug after 4 a.m. there won't be any place left still on April 1st.

Circles was a great idea. Too bad they failed to attract many users.

I came here to say this. I loved the idea of Circles, it makes so much more sense than whatever Facebook is doing. I'm just sad it was attached to Google+.

What is "Google+ for consumers"? Is it different from the Google+ a regular user like me?

No, regular users are using G+ for consumers, and that's what's shutting down, G+ for enterprise will still be around, as an internal social platform for employees of an organization to communicate with each other.

Doesn’t Jeff Dean still use Google+ for his ramblings. How can they do this?

Honestly that is the only reason I use Google+. So I can follow a bunch of people.

I hate Facebook, I hate twitter. It’s infested with ads.

Google+ was a great idea if google just stayed calm.

Though Google is in the tracking business, the increasing lack of diversity in social media platforms is highly disturbing. Now Facebook (with all its platforms) is the biggest, and the next is...who? Probably a limited service with a single digit share? When companies with so much money fail miserably (and put up with lousy decisions that were known soon after the decisions were acted upon), everyone loses. Way too much hubris is one reason for this, and Google seems to have that in many pockets in the organization, going by how many services it has killed in the past.

Twitter, surely?

I wonder if I will get the + operator back on search, since it disappeared searching became a huge pain in the ass, only reason I still use Google search is because is default everywhere....

Does this imply that G+ will still live on a some kind of enterprise product or what? I think they could have done a good job if they increased the integration with Gmail.

Yes, Google+ will continue to exist for G Suite customers (enterprise), though only accessible to other users within the G Suite domain. It will have little similarity to the present experience, other than interface.

It’s too bad g+ destroyed Reader before it died. Reader could have been just a few development sprints away from replicating most of facebooks features.

G+ has been dead for a _long_ time. Google has actually let this service stick around much longer than others it killed with far more active users.

A dead language is one nobody speaks. There are still some of us on Google+, so no it's not dead yet.

I don't really get this attitude. If a web forum that most people haven't heard of with ~100 users shut down, it would still be sad for those users.

> If a web forum that most people haven't heard of with ~100 users shut down, it would still be sad for those users.

I agree. I was really referring to G+ being even a remote competitor to FB, which it never was. It is definitely a loss to see it go, but not unexpected.

They shouldn't have tried to make it defeat FB. They should have let it be its own thing. For a while, Google+ was far superior to Facebook or Twitter, even if less people were using it. They should have stuck with that.

It was a different era. All the marketing press was talking about how focused search, like Amazon and Facebook's own search systems, would be the death of Google. They seemed to believe it.

They probably had a lot to untangle from their systems after they tried to make it the company's sole focus.

Our family is on G+. I am looking for a replacement (being the techie, getting people to migrate is on me). I am on Facebook, but who wants to be friends with their parents?

Yes there is mastodon, SSB (nice in theory), etc but those are essentially replacements for Twitter, haven't found anything that is a replacement for G+. I have gone so far as to consider setting up a usenet server.

E-mail lists are an option, but I would love something with more privacy.

I appreciate that they are willing to pull the plug on something like this early in order to stop potential data breaches when they can see that they don't have to tools to reliably prevent them. I feel like many other companies would not take these risks into account and instead keep their services running until a major breach did happen.

As far as I can tell, the data breach is merely an excuse to pull the plug. I don't think anything remotely serious was leaked, certainly not in comparison to Facebook or other leaks.

Pour one out for Emerald Sea.

for a while Google + was a great place to get news and updates without garbage

It is very sad that Google+ is going to shut down.

My real question is what this means for OAuth.

I've been a long time user, and critic, of Google+. Now I'm helping those who want to move off it to find new homes, which has been interesting in itself.

I'd previously measured active public G+ posting activity, by way of the site's own Sitemap files. Stone Temple Consulting expanded those methods to show that:

* 91% of all G+ profiles (2.2 billion at the time) had never posted publicly.

* About 5% (110 million) profiles showed some public posting activity, other than YouTube (a factor that had inflated apparent activity markedly).

* About 6.5 million profiles (0.3%) had over 50 posts ever.

* About 3.5 million profiles (0.16%) had over 50 posts and activity within the previous 30 days.

That from March of 2015, based on a very large sample of 500,000 randomly selected profiles, using methods I'd developed a few months earlier.

More recently I've been looking at G+ communities, on which there'd been virtually no quantifiable information. There are over 8 million of these, though the vast majority have few members and little activity: the 45%ile membership is 1, the mode is 2, the mean around 130, itself far above the 95%ile (118.5).

There are 66 communities of 1 million or more members, 1,100 > 100k, 10,044 > 10k, 64,775 > 1k, and 390,390 > 100. I've found vital communities across these size ranges, with over 100,000 having 100+ members and activity within seven days prior to accessing, over January 5-6, 2019.

Bigger isn't necessarily better. Looking at interactions (posts, comments, plus-ones, shares) by community, size matters little. It's the posting activity that drives other engagement, and the per-member engagement tends to peak between about 100 and 3,000 members.

Many of those communities are looking to move elsewhere, as are other G+ users and less formal social or other groups. Among the frustrations Google has thrown at them, the two leading official Google+ Community-focused communities, Google+ Moderators and Google+ Aspire, were shut down by Google before most communities had really started addressing migration. In the case of the first, Google shut down the community for six weeks without any notice, with users posts sitting in limbo "held for review", but appearing as if they'd been posted by the author. In the second case, an 80,000 member community focused on Community leaders was shut down without any prior notice.

There are several places Plussers can go for information and coordination.

The Google+ Mass Migration community, over 4,000 members since 8 October 2018, is the central discussion point on the site itself: https://plus.google.com/communities/112164273001338979772/

There are numerous off-G+ rallying points, with the /r/plexodus on Reddit specifically aimed at the migration process itself: https://old.reddit.com/r/plexodus

And there's a Wiki with extensive information, including FAQs, planning guides, platform comparisons, data migration information, and directories of users, communities, and off-G+ meeting points, and more. Much a work in progress, but again, useful to those migrating off the platform: https://social.antefriguserat.de

Links to many other communities, sites, and resources are included at all the above.

I'm finding the process and prospect of moving some ... not entirely clear number of users ... off a dying platform and onto new homes a hugely interesting prospect. There's an opportunity to break out of the surveillance capitalism disinformation monopolist mold, and also risks. I've found out a tremendous amount about developments over the past 5-10 years in online, social, and user-generated media, been digging back through history, discovering I'm in close contact with some very knowledgeable people (a key Project Xanadu member has been in my Google circles for years, I've just learnt), and more.

And there's a lot we're sorting out about what a migration process entails and requires, and the distinctions between succesful migrations and failures. I see this being useful to others in the future, possibly sooner than we might expect.

Interesting times.

We use(d) G+ for our family, what would you suggest as a new home? I don't need a replacement for twitter, so I am not interested in mastodon, etc.

As we're taking a position as one of the information sources and leaders, the official position of G+MM / Plexodus is we do not recommend a specific site. We'll help point you at options though.

For now, especially if you've not yet decided or explored: Go with something basic, tried, true, known, that works, and is stable. For groups, mailing lists, a blog (an excellent beacon site), wiki, groups tools (Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Groups.io), or group-oriented discussions such as Reddit, are all excellent choices.

Non-public destinations will hugely reduce your online visibility, and if your group depends on being findable, is probably not a good idea. This is only one of many criticisms which could be leveled against sites such as MeWe -- along with its closed, proprietary, financially questionable, and morally deplorable organisation, as well as a community that can only be classified as sick and dysfunctional.

Bad communities tend to get worse.

Actually, most communities tend to get worse. Really good ones will be watered down as they regress toward the mean. Facebook was once literally Harvard, something it no longer is. Bad ones will tend to drive off both exceptional, and eventually, typical/normal users. Only the die-hard misfits and sociopaths, or those with no other options, remain. This is much as is the case with physical-world communities as well.

And if you want to dedicate yourself to being and remaining Harvard, you're going to have to accept the fact that you're not a node but a pipe -- a channel through which a large number of highly-selected members are recruited on a constant basis, and eventually graduate to other activities or sites (though with a retention of some as elders/teachers, and some ongoing alumni relations). This is effectively the university model, and can prove quite stable over time. There are other similar organisations -- militaries also operate on a constant-recruitment basis, as do some commercial firms. The pre-industrial city survived largely on in-migration, with greater financial opportunities, but also an often staggeringly short life-expectency on immigration. The difference between the university and pre-industrial city model is that the first improves and expands the options and opportunities of its recruits, the latter grins them up and spits them out.

(See for example, Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms, or Ed Glaeser's works, on preindustrial urban experiences, demographics, life expectency, opportunity, etc.)

Back to your question: "How should we choose?" is a FAQ:

∙ Discuss or research your contacts', friends' and associates' plans. Where your social group goes will be the most significant determinant, generally.

∙ Pick a site or platform that exists and is viable NOW. If at all possible, that has some years of proven history.

∙ Distinguish between "skin" and "bone" factors. It's the deep and integral features of a site, its bones, that have the biggest impact on its long-term trends. Topical skin elements, such as site layout, mobile app, etc., can be improved (if poor) or hide many deeper issues (if flashy).

∙ Consider the business, business model, trust, reliability, and community. These are all bone factors that can have tremendous impacts on a site or platform. They tend not to change radically, and rarely improve, if not currently good or viable.

∙ Preserve your future options. Decisions now that don't lock you into a single choice are likely best.

∙ Think of your own goals. What do you want or need to get out of your social media / online experience? Do you simply need private chat? Public visibility? Microblogging? Social networking? A full blog? Something more complex? Simple tools like SMS chat, instant messenger apps, email, RSS, and blogs remain surprisingly effective.

∙ Does the option give you control over your own data? Having to move your content, contacts, photos, and other online data is painful, slow, and possibly expensive. Insuring against having to do this again may be valuable.

∙ Privacy, cost, complexity, accessibility, and usefulness all deserve consideration. Think of what you care for and what you don't want. Add other concerns you may have.

As you look at your goals, your circle's plans (or lack), the options, and what you do and don't want from them, you should find your options narrowing to a few possibilities. It's all but certain these won't address all your wants. But they should address basic needs and not present showstoppers.


WHY! What do they lose by keeping it up?

It has serious security risks that are too expensive to fix for a useless project?

Like what?

Time and money?

I guess no one will really regret Google+

And nothing of value was lost.

The date signals that on April 1st (aka April Fool's day), Google will announce that they're resurrecting Google+

I just want them to announce a new RSS feed reader since their last one was sacrificed at the altar of G+

This is now covered by Google News. Well, maybe if they shutdown this too...

They'll announce a completely new product: G++.


Or maybe G#?

that's microsoft's shtick

A better fool would be the resurrection of Google Buzz.

Or Google Wave.

At least this time they waited a really long time before pulling the plug. So no one is having a big tanty.

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