Google+ was launched in June of 2011 to much fanfare in order to compete against the social media communities of Twitter and Facebook. However, it is not surprisingly dying an unlikely death in an era where social media activity is growing at an exponential rate. It was already an uphill task competing against two well-entrenched social media giants, but if anybody was/is a worthy competitor it’s Google. Unfortunately, their attempt to dethrone the social media strongholds have proved unsuccessful.

The social platform hasn’t been a complete failure and has earned its share of supporters, but their triumphs have been fleeting since the app was launched in mid 2011 did having only a brief moment in the sun.

To begin with, it has proved immensely effective for the parent company [Google] in unifying Google products and services. Remember when in an act of compulsory a Google+ account was necessary in order to create a YouTube account?

Here are some statistics which offer a bird’s eye view of its early success.

  • The Google+ mobile app was used by as many as 30% of smartphone users between April-June 2013, making it the fourth most used app.
  • At one point in time, the +1 button was used 5 million times per day.
  • 12 minutes was the average time users spent on Google+.
  • Websites with the +1 button generated 3 times more visits than websites without the button.

This is proof that the social networking experiment by the tech giant, for most part, has gone well. The company already had a growing base of loyal Gmail and Google search engine users, who it wanted to turn into its community of social network users.

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Unfortunately, users haven’t really taken to the app. The unique value offered by the application hasn’t been great enough to convince users and they have refrained from making it their social network of choice.

Google+ has been dead in the water since its inception. The only people that have active Google+ profiles are their employees and that’s probably due to company policy. I’m sure they’re all counting down the days ’til they can rejoice in publicly joining Facebook, LinkedIn…Pinterest…anything.

– Jason Ramsey, TalenAlexander

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It seems as though it is yet another product that will meet a fate similar to previous Google tools, Wave and Buzz.  The social social framework and microblogging tools, Wave and Buzz, lost their charm and subsequently their popularity hit a nosedive which is the course Google+ seems to be following.

With more and more people abandoning the social media app/site, it has practically become a ghost town.

Reasons behind the failure of Google+   

Although brilliant, Google is definitely doing wrong regarding their approach to social media. For instance, look at the company’s track record of its ambitious social networking platform, Orkut- despite doing considerably well in a few countries it failed to take off elsewhere; Orkut was launched January 24, 2004 two weeks before Facebook.

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Google+ has clearly been fighting an uphill battle since its initial debut having launched almost a decade after Facebook has firmly established itself during the inception of social media.

Even though the site has come up with some innovative features such as Circles, Hangouts and Photos, users continue to compare them to features offered by Facebook and Twitter which they operate with familiarity; many of them feel Google+ overall is a clone of already popular social media channels.  

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This is despite the fact that Google+ has tried valiantly to differentiate its offerings from those of its competitors. The honest to goodness truth is, Google+ has never really caught the pulse of social media users. It is more about ‘me’ rather than ‘them’.

For instance, the visible interactions on the platform are not with friends or family, but instead with people you connect with at random; your friends, family, colleagues, etc. might be on the platform, in which case, they can then add you to their Circles.

The greatest travesty is that users seem to become afflicted by a curious case of “memory loss,” forgetting they have an existing Google+ profile. The site by design is made so that user accounts can be utilized for social networking apart from using other Google services. This side effect in turn creates a growing list of  inactive users on the social media platform.

Moreover, when you think about it Google has also insisted on account creation using real identities. It’s as if it has fervently worked to meet its own objectives, sidelining the user’s basic needs on any social media channel. All these factors have led to a high abandonment rate practically making this social networking platform a ‘Ghost Town.’

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So, is Google+ really dead?

Although Google has no immediate plans to ditch its social networking platform, a few facts state otherwise. It seems that Google is ‘breaking’ its social network into ‘Photos’ and ’Streams’- two distinct service tools. This leaves the fate of the Google+ service unclear.

There is also a conscious uncoupling of Google Hangouts and YouTube. Users will no longer be required to set up a mandatory Google+ profile to use these services. For instance, comments on YouTube will no longer show up on Google+ profiles. Following suit, Hangouts is getting its very own homepage.

Google insists the social network will not be completely scrapped stating that users will get “an internet based social experience for the small amount of users that still are.”  

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of people who have created a Google+ profile, some using them primarily to gain access to Gmail accounts while others use them to access Google Drive. However, how many of these account holders are actively using its social networking features? You will be shocked to know that,

Less than 1 percent of Google’s 2.2 billion users are active on Google Plus.

 This confirms the fact that Google+ has really lost the social media race.

As Google Inc. undergoes restructuring in a “two-step switch” to become, Alphabet Inc., the new parent company will retain the search engine, advertising service, YouTube, Android, and Gmail; Google will become a subsidiary to Alphabet Inc. However, what will happen to Google+?

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Where does it go from here?

There is no clarity on this front.

Here’s the real kicker — the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note 5 won’t have a Google+ app. Yes, Samsung’s flagship phablet doesn’t have a place for Google+. If that’s not an indication of things to come, then what is?

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All these facts signal the failure of Google+ and we believe the end is nigh. It’s on life support and it seems the plug will be pulled sooner rather than later, but that’s our opinion. What do you think? Do you think Google+ has a chance of survival or is it on it’s way out? We’d love to hear your thoughts via Twitter or Facebook and remember,

#BreakThroughTheNoise

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