Google+ was the social media service that (in theory) could become a contender against Facebook or Twitter. The service started in 2011, and now 2nd April 2019 marks the last day of its existence. The service could never become relevant, except for the years 2013-2015 when it was truly active. Google announced in late January, “On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down, and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts.”
According to Google, it will take around two months to remove the data; in the meantime, users can download their data. Every other service linked with Google+ account will cease to work too. Google said users could connect the services with their Google account.
The decision to kill the service was made last year as a result of Project Strobe. This was when the company decided that the challenges in creating and maintaining the service are too significant to carry on. Perhaps, the input to consumer satisfaction ratio was off for the company to go through with it.
They found a bug in one of the system APIs which was leaking the private information of around half a million users to the developers. Shortly after that, another breach in the system exposed the personal data of another 50 million users. Google stayed silent during the security breach as it could result in a potential loss. Later on, Google admitted the mistake when they decided to come clean in front of the masses.
The bug was active between 2015 to 2018. It was exposing private information such as age or gender to the third party developers. Furthermore, the information flagged as private by the consumer was also included in the breach. Many third-party applications were using the faulty API in their favor. According to Google, a total of 438 applications used the flawed API, and the information of around 50,000 users was compromised. Though, the breach affected more than 50 million users.
Many think that Google was trying to find a reason to shut down almost dead service. But, it should be noted that the company of such massive caliber cannot afford to take such a risk. Google+ was dead long before the security breach. The social network had failed to get a place under the spotlight. In its brief history, the service could never get the required user count that could become a potential threat to Facebook or Twitter.
Another decision that was received with a huge backlash from the consumers was when they decided to merge Google+ with other Google services such as YouTube. After that, Google isolated Hangouts and Photos from the service which turned out to be the last nail in the coffin. The service was virtually dead by the end of 2015.
If you were the user of Google+ than there is ample time to recover the data from the dead service. However, Google has said that they will preserve the data for the future through internet archive.