RIP: The Death of Google Plus Seems Inevitable

Publisher Channel Content by

Death of Google Plus

The rumors are true: Google is breaking its Streams and Photos into standalone products, to be managed under Bradley Horowitz, as he announced on Google Plus earlier this week.

Horowitz didn’t specifically mention Google Plus in his post, but the writing is on the wall and it could signal the death of Google Plus. Considering these two products make up much of the Google Plus network user experience, their separation pretty much spells the end of Google’s foray into social.

Death of Google Plus

Google has given a lot of clues pointing to the demise of its social network over the past 18 months, including the shelving of mandatory Google Plus registration when signing up for new Google services, the death of Authorship, moving much of the Google Plus team to Android when Google Plus godfather Vic Gundotra left the company.

Even so, Google Plus had continued expanding some services. For example, it wasn’t that long ago Google Plus Post Ads were made available to all advertisers.

Maybe Google hopes to continue using Google Plus for advertising only? It seems ludicrous – without a social network, where’s the audience to make it worth it for businesses to stay? Ah, there’s the beauty of Google though; it was never just a social network. It’s primarily an advertising network, then a search engine.

Sure, the social aspect of it would be a ghost town (as we’ve been proclaiming since its earliest days), but they have such reach across Search, YouTube, Gmail that it may not matter. Google Plus was never getting the social engagement and activity Facebook enjoys, but their ad business is still exponentially larger and more lucrative.

If you take Photos and Streams away, there’s really not much left to interest users, is there? Hangouts already became a standalone app in the fall. With this latest announcement, it’s crystal clear Google has abandoned their plan to build a social network to rival Facebook.

Google Plus will now join a host of products that have been killed off before it, in the Google Graveyard. We’ve said goodbye to Aardvark, Google Buzz, Labs, Google Answers and more.

That’s what’s amazing about Google, though. They take massive risks that don’t always pan out, but they are free to try.

Their plans for the network always seemed somewhat patched together – often, it seemed they were trying too hard to be like Facebook and not getting it quite right. The parts they nailed, like Hangouts, aren’t integral or exclusive to the network anymore.

Taking on Facebook for the social media heavyweight belt was probably their most ambitious effort to date, but also their most publicized and notorious failure. The concept wasn’t bad and you can’t blame them for trying – it just never came together.

Goodbye, Google Plus.

Graveyard Photo via Shutterstock

More in: , 32 Comments ▼

Larry Kim Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He serves as company CTO and is the author of 4 Award-Winning Books on Software Development. Larry also blogs at the WordStream Blog and practices photography in his spare time.

32 Reactions
  1. Im just starting out on Google Plus and i think its far more Professional than Facebook and other Social Media sites that you can post on.

    • I agree. it was only until I started using Google Plus then I realized my youtube account photos google play music so connected and one grand scheme of things I think there’s a bigger plan ahead but they’re not sharing publicly and I don’t believe that this is the end of google+ making this article Bologna

      • Given that the active user numbers, even when overinflated by Google are less than Myspace’s active users, Google+ is in serious trouble. Then consider it’s been like this for the past 3 years… It’s time to pull the plug.

        Let the patient die quietly, and harvest the few organs that can be saved. It’s the only logical solution.

  2. Felix L. Griffin

    The Matrix, as I like to call it [Google+] has definitely started a downward spiral. [Google] breaking its Streams and Photos into standalone products, is not good for social networking or social marketing.

    • Google+ will just make use of them, as they have done with Youtube.

      They did the same with Hangouts, but it’s still there on Google+

  3. Google+ is 10x better then Facebook. Everyone I know is on it and uses it more then other social networks. It is a far better user experience. It would be a shame if google killed the best product they have

    • Hi David,
      Thanks so much for your comment. This is one of the sentiments we see expressed all the time when this topic comes up. Where Google Plus is concerned, people are either predicting its doom or expounding its virtues. (Very few people truly hate the network, it seems.) As Larry points out, one of the most promising components of the social platform may be its new advertising service, a revenue generator! But, as I’m sure we all suspect by now, whether Google Plus stays or goes has little to do with whether it is objectively a sustainable business or product on its own. It has everything to do with how it fits into Google’s larger business and brand. And for now, that’s something only Google can answer.

    • Really? Everyone you know? Come on man, that’s a stretch.

  4. Check the sources of information better. No one says “the G+ is dead”…don´t be a lazy blogger spreading rumours and investigate:

    • People have been predicting the demise of Google+ since day one.

      However, the author is expressing an opinion, not being lazy, and I respect his opinion — even though I do not agree with it.

      I happen to believe that Google+ will evolve and change, but it’s too far entrenched to just pull the plug. Companies make personnel changes all the time — doesn’t mean something is dead. That’s MY opinion. 🙂

      – Anita

  5. First, Google+ was a copycat product. That meant an uphill battle against an entrenched competitor. While Facebook toppling MySpace wasn’t surprising (Facebook created a far superior experience for users and had exclusivity on its side), Google+ needed something big and it never delivered. It’s good, but good doesn’t knock off a multi-billion dollar competitor like Facebook.

    Second, I feel like half the reason Google+ even came into existence was so that Google could obtain demographic data (age, occupation, where you live, what you’re interested in, etc.) to mesh with search intent and create a better advertising product.

    So while I’m not surprised, it is still sad.

  6. As you say: they did the same with Hangouts, but it’s still on Google+.

    Hangout has improved after it became a standalone app and just made Google+ Better.

    And now Streams and Photos has to became a standalone app in order to improve and make Google+ Better.

  7. Hey man from kman… plus is a must it aint dead.If you think it is then rethink. And use your head. Love google plus better than Facebook.. Don’t believe me just take a look.

  8. I really don’t mind G+ as a social network, only many people I know are NOT on it. If G+ really is dead, I wonder if Google will have another attempt at a new and improved social network in the future.

  9. I have read lots about Google + and them as a company copying Facebook but id just like to say i find it much easier and less confusing and cluttered like Facebook.

    Knowing Google they will inhance this product or upgrade it as the market needs.
    Look how they knocked Yahoo off the top.

  10. If Google+ stays or goes, I would just accept it (I don’t control Google, so I would HAVE to). I will say that personally, I feel that Google+ is a letdown. But that’s mainly because most of the people that I have ‘circled’ aren’t very active on it. However, the activity of those who are active on it is very valuable to me. It’s very visual, like Instagram…but more professional. Also I don’t feel the need to be closely connected personally to connect with someone on Google+, like I do on LinkedIn. Google+ is like Twitter in the way. And for me, Facebook is mainly for personal use and entertainment. So if Google+ were to go away, there would be a void in my current social media arsenal, that’s for sure.

  11. Both companies have moved beyond this idea of a dedicated social network product.

    The web is the social network and communicating across it is done by many different products and tools.

    G+ is superior in terms of content and engagement. If G+ goes I won’t mind leaving social network products behind. I very much doubt it will, though. A smaller, more dedicated community has its benefits strategically.

    I also think Google has rightly foreseen that Facebook has created a gated community for itself that may limit their innovation in some ways. Google has to deal with the same consequences of crap content overload on YouTube.

  12. No it does not mean the death of Google plus any more than LinkedIn offering Pulse or LinkedIn Connection means the death of LinkedIn. Just admit is is popular to be the next one writing an article about the death of Google Plus. I am so glad everyone is not on Google Plus and the gold is just people signing in to Google.

  13. As far as I remember, the Google + was not originally planned as a successful social network. Google just wanted to develop a mechanism for identifying the authors of articles on websites.

    In general, Google is able to get rid of their services. When Google Google Reader closed – many did not like it. But Google did not stop.

  14. GooglePlus is far better than Facebook or any other social networking sites. It just happened that Facebook came first than GooglePlus (if I am not mistaken) that’s why internet users still prefer to use Facebook.

  15. Frankly this news is a little disconcerting. Also, we forget the silent powerhouse in the background that virtually everyone on the planet uses and that is Google Maps. If google+ does indeed go away, I am going to miss this powerful integration it has with Google maps.

    I rely on it for thousands of small shops and restaurants, who can’t be bothered to put up their own websites. But miraculously, there will be a google+ page that shows business hours, contact information, menu photos and especially reviews which for me are critical.

    Remember, its not just restaurants I’m talking about here, but even your local hardware store, and the dentist etc, you name it, google plus has it!

  16. Join the pack of people saying it is dying since the beginning. Google employees all use it, they like it and it is drop in the bucket of their expenses.

  17. Everything I have read indicates the only real Google Plus demographics was mostly male’s with technology back grounds and social outcasts who had limited amount of friends and thought outside the box of normalcy so joining Facebook would be too normal. But then again Google was never really about understanding how and why people join social networks in the first place. The people at Google live in their own little world and treat everything out side of Google’s thinking benign and worthless. Kind of the way Apple thinks of everything too. Its also why Apple’s social music site Ping failed because again, Apple does not know how to reach beyond the Apple faithful. It reminds me of college parties, everyone can buy beer and throw a good party. But for some reason some just attracted more people then others. Unfortunately Google makes stuff that sometimes impresses only themselves and not really anyone else. Google Plus is one of those ideals that total geeks can technically do. But are too socially inept to draw the people. They bought the beer but not many came.

  18. Google + was failed from the beginning, and do you want to know why? It was forced apon the user, it felt like Nazi Germany, there was no getting out of it.
    Facebook is massive because people are there by choice, not forced to be part of it.

    The fact that Google + didn’t give an option to opt out it smacked so hard of desperation that it just wasn’t “cool”.

    Yeh it was worth a try but whatever fella decided to take on Facebook was having a laugh. He should be shot with a ball of his own shite.

    Facebook may not last forever, but to take it on 5 years ago, never mind today, was insane.

  19. I am actually finding that Google Plus is starting to invest more in their platform to compete with other networks like facebook / Instagram or Snap chat. Have a great Google Plus account that is linked to a business verified page can support your ranking juice and post placed into the google plus account get index quickly. Google plus is a key part of my social network.

  20. People have been predicting the demise of Google+ since day one.

    However, the author is expressing an opinion, not being lazy, and I respect his opinion — even though I do not agree with it.

    I happen to believe that Google+ will evolve and change, but it’s too far entrenched to just pull the plug. Companies make personnel changes all the time — doesn’t mean something is dead. That’s MY opinion. ?

    – Rod

Win $100 for Vendor Selection Insights

Tell us!
No, Thank You