Google’s failed social media network could have been a huge step towards internet domination, and thanks to the Internet Archive, we’ll always get to look back on it.
As the April termination date for Google’s social network approaches, attempts are being made to preserve public content for posterity.
Why is it shutting down? The fatal combination of low user engagement and security flaws characterized the end of Google’s foray into social media.
In October, the company revealed that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions ended in less than five seconds. The company also acknowledged an API flaw that could potentially expose user information. Consequently, Google said it would shut down the seven-year-old social network over a 10-month period, ending in August.
Just two months after that announcement, Google disclosed that an API update introduced another security vulnerability that affected over 52 million user profiles. It responded by shutting down all Google+ APIs (over the course of 90 days) and expediting the social network’s shutdown to April.
Google+ will live forever on the internet, even if it doesn’t. The Internet Archive and the ArchiveTeam have taken to Reddit to outline their efforts to preserve public Google+ posts. If you’ve posted public content on Google+, chances are, it’ll get archived.
Why is it worth preserving? Google+ wasn’t just another failed social network — it was a social network operated by one of the most influential companies in the world. As such, Google made numerous attempts to shoehorn Google+ into its SERPs and possibly even its ranking factors.
Why you should care. Brands that depend on content marketing and optimization to bring in business are already at the mercy of social media and search engine algorithm updates. Had its efforts been successful, Google could have propelled its influence to even greater heights. If your brand or agency put in the effort to create content for Google+ back in the day, the platform may be taking that investment with it to the grave, but your content live on in the Internet Archive.