Everything Your Business Should Know About the Google+ Shutdown
If you use the platform for your small business, you’ve likely received at least one email from Google announcing changes that started taking place in February. These announcements have sparked confusion among many Google+ users, especially those who were unaware they’d signed up for the platform in the first place. To help answer your questions regarding Google’s impending changes, we’ve addressed the key points that affect small business users.
What Should Business Owners Know About the Google+ Shutdown?
Why is Google+ Shutting Down?
Although Google+ was originally created to rival social network platforms like Facebook, it never gained popularity the way Google had intended. In addition, Google has indicated that they’ve faced challenges maintaining a successful product. Still, many small businesses use the platform as part of G Suite’s set of tools. While only the consumer side of Google+ is dissolving, G Suite users should also expect to see changes.
When Should You Expect to See Changes?
Initially, Google announced a target date of August 2019 for the shutdown, but the implementation date was expedited due to a Google+ API bug that affected the accounts of 52.5 million Google+ users last November. Those impacted by the bug may have had their non-public usernames, email addresses, occupations, and ages exposed, while financial data, passwords, and other identifying details weren’t shared, according to Google.
Although the API bug was quickly addressed, Google has accelerated the “sunsetting” of its consumer version of Google+ to April 2019 to ensure the protection of all users.
What Should G Suite Users Expect?
For business owners using Google+ through G Suite, these changes will largely affect how your organization interacts with consumer content. That’s because users of the consumer version of Google+ will see any pages they’ve created, as well as photos and videos stored in their Google+ archives, deleted on April 2nd.
Also effective April 2nd, G Suite users won’t be able to create new collections or add content to a collection that is not domain-restricted. You’ll still be able to add content to a collection that is domain-restricted and delete any collections you own. Similarly, you won’t be able to create new circles, add people without a Google+ account to existing circles, or share a post to a circle, but you’ll still be able to delete your circles.
Any posts or comments you’ve made on Google+ pages will be deleted. Google+ Events and any associated content will also be removed, as will Google+ vanity URL names and all +1’s made on external websites. In addition, the Google+ profile field for tagline will disappear. Finally, if you decide to cancel your G Suite service, your content will be flagged for deletion upon cancellation.
How Can You Prepare?
There are several ways you can prepare for the Google+ shutdown:
- Before April 2nd, download and save any content you don’t want permanently deleted. Google has published detailed instructions for how to download your Google+ data, including Google+ Communities content, even if you previously deleted your Google+ account.
- If your website, email signature, or other social network pages contain links to a Google+ page, be sure to remove these prior to April 2nd.
- Consider uploading your content to a more widely used social network, such as Facebook or Instagram, and let your Google+ followers — and everyone else — know where they can find you.
It’s important to note that the Google+ shutdown doesn’t affect other Google products, such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, or Google Calendar. If you’re still unsure how your business or Google account will be affected, Google has created a page to address frequently asked questions.
While any significant change to how you reach your customers can be inconvenient, the disruption should be minimal if you take the necessary steps to prepare before April 2nd. On the bright side, the Google+ shutdown provides an opportunity to expand your following on other, more established social networking platforms — a change that may prove beneficial in the long run.
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