Google+ - Time to Say Goodbye

image of Google Plus logo

Google+ - Time to Say Goodbye

In June 2011, Google+ arrived on the social scene. It was Google’s belated attempt to build a social network around Google services and match Twitter and Facebook's success.

But Google+ never really gained traction. And, on 2 April 2019 Google will be closing all personal Google+ accounts and deleting the photographs and other content.

Nevertheless, Google+’s rise and fall offers higher education social media an important lesson. It’s OK to experiment.

The histogram below shows the distribution of the number of Google+ followers for Canada’s universities and colleges. By February 2019, with the exception of the University of Toronto (and a few other large universities), most accounts had only double-digit follower numbers. In fact, low usage is one of Google’s main reasons for closing the service.

histogram showing relative numbers of Google+ followers for Canadian university accounts

Canadian University and Colleges Set Up Google+ Accounts - They Just Didn't Figure Out What to Do With Them

But add up all those bars on the chart and you can see that over 90% of Canada’s higher education institutions were on Google+: right up there with Twitter and Facebook. They jumped on Google+ to experiment. To test the social network’s capabilities and the content formats it supported and to see if they could build an audience.

And, the learnings and results of experimenting on Google+ (and on Flickr and Pinterest) can be applied elsewhere. On the networks that have more successfully navigated Google+’s shortcomings.

Goodbye Google+ we hardly knew ye.