Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus; sometimes-called G+) was a social network operated by Google. The network was launched on June 28, 2011, in an attempt to challenge other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Google+ is not the first time Gooogle’s social network has to be shut down. It had attempted three times earlier to create its successful platform of a social network. Google Buzz was launched in 2010 and retired in 2011. Google Friend Connect was launched in 2008 and retired in 2012 and Orkut was launched in 2004 and retired in 2014. The fourth attempt was Google+ itself, which linked with other Google products like Google Drive, Blogger and YouTube. Google+ included the features of posting photos and status updates to the stream, communities, group different types of friends into circles, a multi-person instant messaging, text and video chats called hangouts, events location tagging and the ability to edit and upload photos to private cloud-based albums.
It is said by a various person engaged with the Google+ team, that this platform was created by Google with a sole motive to compete with Face book. This was in no means less than any other social networking sites. Although, it failed to overtake, its biggest rival, Facebook that it was developed for. Google plus had more users than Twitter, Instagram, or other micro-blogging sites. When it launched on June 28, 2011, Google+ had 10 million users two weeks after the launch. In a month, it had 25 million. In October 2011, the service has 40 million users, according to Larry Page. By the end of its first year, Google+ welcomed 90 million users. Since the product could not pip its rival, namely, Facebook, it is deemed a failure. However, unfortunately, things did not go well for Google Plus in subsequent stages that caused disaster in its operation and working. Due to low user engagement and disclosed software design flaws that potentially allowed outside developers access to personal information of its users, the Google+ developer API was discontinued on March 7, 2019, and Google+ was shut down for business and personal use on April 2, 2019. Google+ continued to be available as “Google+ for G Suite”, later rebranded as ‘Google Currents’.
In its initial stage, Google plus was multiplying its users and it proved a threat to other social networks. According to 2016 book by a former employee, some leaders at Facebook saw Google’s attempt into social networking as a serious threat to the company. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the response of this, instituted a company-wide “lockdown”, signalling that employees were supposed to dedicate time to bringing Facebook’s features into line with Google+.
Despite having everything with this product of Google, what did not work and failed Google+. “Google+ was destined to fail from day one,” says Matt Navarra, a social media consultant. So, let us dive into a little depth to find out the reasons for the failure of Google+.
LACK OF GRAND VISION, vision is simply, where the company is looking at itself after a period. The biggest problem with Google+ was its vision. What we learn in our theory management subjects are not only bookish, these basic theories and principles sometimes become the reason for someone’s success and someone’s failure. There is a concept known as “Coordination”, which is the synchronisation of all individual efforts in a particular direction to reach predefined goals. What happened here is a lack of coordination. All the teams worked on their separate modules with no knowledge of the “grand vision”.
SECURITY FLAW, there were also some security issues with Google+. When company came to know that, the security flaw in the software had made accessible private data of more than 500,000 Google+ profiles to third-party developers even when the relevant information was not marked as public. Even before this, Google+ was a dead product; there were no takers ready to have it even after spending hundreds of million dollars of it. Now at least we can figure out the reason behind its downfall, fragments of a team working separately on a product and spending, amount of money without any prior plans and goals and just to compete and had no grand vision.
CHALLENGING FACEBOOK, the social media experts acknowledged that Google plus could not leave a strong mark on people’s minds, from the very beginning. Yes, the continuous rivalry with Facebook has been quite persistent. At altogether, Google+ did not make a solid plan for combating the Facebook craze. It had also been described by one of the former Google employee Knutson that Google’s product vision of Google+ was based on the fear of losing the race to Facebook instead of creating something genuinely unique. Knutson was a Google’s employee who was initially interviewed for the Chrome project and later has been hired for Google+ project. He had revealed a lot about internal corporate politics held there through his interviews and tweets.
LISTENING TO ITS EMPLOYEES, NOT ITS CUSTOMERS; Google has consistently failed to get to the heart of social. It has remained to copy the designs and features of Facebook, still unable to win the craze that people have for Facebook. People prefer Face book to Google+, fundamentally because Google’s approach to social is not fun. Google+ is the only one of Google’s embarrassing succession of failure in social media. First Orkut, then Wave, then Buzz, then Google Heath and Google Powermeter. Finally Google+. It keeps making the same error over and over again because it listens to its employee more ahead than its customers. The assumption of Google+, like Google Health and Google Powermeter, is that users would enjoy spending time organizing their information. Geeks may like to organize their information but normal people do not.
NO UNIFORMITY AND NO PLANS, here is the perfect practical scenario of business failure in absence of basic theories and rules of management. Google+ was launched without a clear plan and just out of the need to counter Facebook, which had been around for seven years and was getting popular day by day. There was a lack of ‘Planning’, which is the foundation where we fix the pillars of success. Also, teams were working on their independent assignments in a fragmented way and nobody knows where it is going to end. There was no uniform path to walk on because initially no destination was planned except to run in the race with Facebook.
FEATURES AND DESIGN OF GOOOGLE+, the interface designed by the developers of Google+ was quite confusing and complex. Many found sharing posts 0on Google+. We are not having a comparative study between Google+ AND Face book and the interface designed by Face book is much user friendly.
LACK OF MOBILE PRESENCE, since Google+ had a mobile version later but it was not good enough to compete with other social media. High-resolution photos on Google+ made it good for desktop but hindered mobile browsing.
NO SCOPE FOR ADS, since, ads are the major drivers for the commercial success of social media platforms, especially Face book. Google thought providing ad-free platform would make viable but the things turned another way.
VIC GUNDOTRI TO LEAVE GOOGLE IN 2005, the internal organisational issues did not seem sound concerning Google+, which led the brain behind the Google+. In 2014, the founder of Google+ left the company and changes came swiftly. This major governance-related governance-related setback had made G+ in a middle of nowhere situation.
Seven years after it launched Google+, Google finally decided to shut down its social network on April 2, 2019. The company cited low user engagement and difficulties in “creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumer’s expectations.” However, on a bittersweet note, the platform was favourite among many for less drama (compared to Face book). It might fizzle out for different reasons but this product was useful for many company apps. On its business-oriented G Suite, Google replaced Google+ with a similar product called Currents, which facilitates internal communications. A few months after the Google+ closure, in July 2019, the company soft-launched an experimental social networking platform called Shoelace oriented toward organizing local activities and events. However, due to Coronavirus pandemic, Shoelace shut down on May 12, 2020. On June 5, 2020, Google announced that Currents would be replacing Google+ for all G Suite customers on July 6, 2020.
This was the rise and fall of Google+. It went wrong at the very first stage; it did not plan the things. The written vision would maybe different but in reality, it was looking itself for more successful and popular than other social networking sites, particularly Facebook. It is good to have competition but I am talking about healthy competitions. By having a pinch of healthy competition the products grow, their standards uplift and customers also get a chance to have the benefit of them. Running behind other success would not lead to the right path.
For more insights visit Dshots