Google recently confirmed plans to shut down the Google+ platform in April this year, due to low usage numbers and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations”. For the relatively few Google+ users – the site was reported to have 111 million active users in 2015 – here’s what you need to do to hang on to your profile data.
Why is Google+ closing down?
Despite promising user engagement in its early days (Google+ snapped up 25 million users within its first month of existence), interest in the social media platform – Google’s fourth attempt at such a network – has been waning for years.
This low user count, coupled with a number software design flaws that potentially allowed outside developers access to personal information of millions of users, has led to the web giant “sunsetting” the site.
“We’re committed to focusing on our enterprise efforts,” say Google, “and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.”
Despite the figure of 111 million active users given in 2015, only 6.7 million users had 50 or more posts ever, and only 3.5 million had posted 50 or more times in the past 30 days.
How can I back up my data?
On 2 April, your Google+ accounts and any Google+ pages you have created will be shut down, and Google will begin the process of deleting content.
This means that photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will be deleted.
Thankfully, you can download and save your content – as long as you get it done before April – although if you’ve previously backed up your photos and videos using Google Photos, that data will not be deleted.
Other data, such as Circles, Communities, Streams, and +1s, can also be downloaded and saved.
Google note that the process of actually deleting all that data might take a few months, and content “may remain” through this time.
“Users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted,” they said in an email to users.
Can I make a new page?
We’re unsure why you might want to, but from 4 February you’ll no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.
Those who were the owners or moderators of a Google+ Community can also download and save the data for those Communities.
As of early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community.
How will I sign in using my Google+ profile?
If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will cease functioning at some point in the coming weeks.
In some cases they may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button, and you’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see one of these.
What about blog comments?
Those who use Google’s blogging tool Blogger will start to see comments left by Google+ users disappear on 4 February, with your comments left on other sites through Google+ vanishing from other sites by 7 March.
Comments on all sites will be permanently deleted starting 2 April.