Google has an official closing date for its troubled Google+ social network: April 2.
The search engine giant says on that date Google+ accounts and any pages created will be shut down and begin being deleted. Should you have any photos or other content you want to save, “just make sure to do so before April,” the company said in a blog post.
Photos and videos also stored in Google Photos will not be affected. Google has posted directions on how to download an archive of your Google+ content. Any photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.
But the Alphabet-owned Google launched Google+ in June 2011 in an attempt to challenge Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter, in the social networking competition. A successful Google+ could also have served as a social component to connect Google’s various products.
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But the network never gained significant traction. A Stone Temple Consulting study from 2015 found 111 million active profiles on Google+ and only 6.7 million users who had 50 or more posts ever, according to a story on Forbes about the findings. In comparison, Facebook reports 1.5 billion daily active users.
Google began accelerating its shutdown last year after announcing in October 2018 that a vulnerability found earlier in the year had potentially compromised up to 500,000 users’ data. Google says that it found no evidence any profile data were misused.
Then two months later, Google said a software update in November had caused a security bug that leaked the data — such as name, email and occupation — of 52.5 million users.
Google said in the blog post the decision to shut down Google+ was made “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.”
Even though the free consumer version of Google+ will cease, Google+ will continue on as part of Google’s G Suite for enterprises.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.