Google has closed its failed social network Google+, with the company announcing it is in the process of deleting all user content uploaded to the site.
The search engine giant announced in December that it would be closing the service “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.” Google had announced back in August plans to shut down the service, then a major security breach in November last year, which saw the personal data of 52 million users leaked to third parties, prompted the firm to push forward with its April closure. Further damage was caused to the reputation of the site when Google was forced to admit that it knew that some user data had been comprised long before it publicly disclosed the breach.
Google+ first launched in 2011 as a rival to Facebook and was lauded for its clean design and innovative features. While Google+ had millions of users – anyone with a gmail account automatically had a profile created on the social network – very few people were actually posting to the site, causing it to gradually fade into obscurity with the emergence of Facebook and Instagram. Last year, Google revealed that 90 percent of user sessions on Google+ “ended within five seconds”. By comparison, a user session on Facebook averages around 20 minutes.
From April, users visiting the site will be greeted with a message that reads: “Google+ is no longer available for consumer (personal) and brand accounts. “From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place.” Some enterprise versions of Google+ will remain online, but personal accounts will be closed indefinitely, with all photos, videos and status updates shared on the site being deleted. Google said back in January that it would be contacting users with instructions on how to back up their Google+ data. With its closure, Google+ joins the ranks of other failed social networks such as Wave, MySpace and Friends Reunited.