Is Google Plus Still Relevant in 2017?



Google Plus was always the not so popular one amongst his other social media friends. Considering this you would think that the platform is facing a slow death. On the contrary according to Google.

A large number of users sign up every day (around 1.6 million according to Google). Probably that’s the reason why Google decided  to add new features this year. To keep the millions of users engaged. All 111 million of them that are active.

A little history…

Many don’t know this, but Google+ isn’t the first attempt of the internet’s giant to get into social media. In fact, Google+ is the forth platform they launched. Their first try was called Orkut, and it was designed to keep old acquaintances alive and also meet new friends. The back bone of any social media platform. It was first released 13 years ago, on 24th of January 2004 and it survived until 2013 when they decided to keep it only for Brazil due to legal issues. They pulled the plug on it a year later and announced that it would be shut down in September 2014.

In 2008 they launched a similar platform with Facebook and MySpaceID called Google Friend Connect, that allowed users to build a profile, with the intent of freeing them from having to register for additional accounts or usernames.

On 1st of March 2012, they announced that it would be kept only for Blogger users and turned it off completely on January 11, 2016.

Google Buzz was their third attempt to enter the social media sphere. Users could share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organised in “conversations” and visible in the user’s inbox. On October 14, 2011, Google announced that it would be discontinuing the service and that the existing content would be available in read-only mode. Buzz was discontinued 3 months later.

Google+ was launched on June 28, 2011 and totally replaced Google Buzz. They reached 10 million users in the first two weeks after the launch. After another two weeks it had 25 million users.

According to a 2016 book by a former Facebook employee, Facebook saw Google+ as threatening and ordered their employees to bring Facebook’s features into line with Google+.

User engagement

Although they had millions of users, the engagement with the website was low compared to other platforms. In January of 2012 the average social media user spent around 7.5 hours on Facebook while just 3.3 minutes on Google+.

It was compared in 2014 to a ghost town by New York Times. Google replied that the significance of Google+ was less as a Facebook competitor than as a means of gathering and connecting user information from Google’s various services.

Because the Google Plus profile is created automatically when people make a Google account, it’s no wonder that almost 90% of the users had never posted anything at all on the platform.

You would think that cause of the small number of users that actually use the platform, Google is planning on killing it. I mean, they have done it before with Orkut, Friend Connect, Buzz and many other that didn’t meet the market expectations. The truth is that Google+ users still are an important data source for Google.

TechCrunch says that “Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter”.

With Image Zooming & Image Compression  Feature, Google+ is still very popular among the photographers and photography communities around the world.

New 2017 Design

This year Google introduced the new Google+. It shows a brand new user interface, making the change from the classic look to something more similar with Pinterest, with pin-style boards.

The redesigned was released last year, but until now, it gave the users the possibility to stick to the old version. Since January 24, all users are switched to the new look. Google has also added some new features like tweaking comments so the low-rated ones are hidden from the post or like the ability to zoom in on photos. You can also create and share events just like on Facebook.

The new is focused around the user “With this latest round of updates, we believe the new Google+ is really your Google+ — designed around your suggestions, requests and needs”, said one of their representatives.

Conclusion

While for many is still seen as the punchline to failed social networks, considering the last updates, it looks like Google+ is here to stay. For now. Feel free to take a chance and check out the new version if you haven’t yet. Happy Browsing!