Monday, October 08, 2018

Google-Plus shutting down ("sunsetting") after company finds potential security vulnerabilities very difficult to fix in a cost-effective way for individuals; enterprise version will be boosted




Google has suddenly announced today that it will “sunset” Google+ for individual consumers, while promoting a new version for enterprises.  I heard about this on FB Messenger from a Friend in the DC area LGBT and social media business community.

The decision is announced here on Google’s own blog.  User data will be shut down and migrated by the end of August, 2019.  The discussion is part of a “Project Strobe”.

But the sudden announcement appeared after major security lapses were reported. Ashley Carman has a story on The Verge here.
  
The Wall Street Journal has more details in a searing story today in by the Macmillans, here.  Apparently there was a consumer leak that the WSJ, at least, says was not properly communicated to the public.  But Google insists the security problem was found in project Strobe and caught in time.
  
  
Google reports low consumer usage and engagement, apparently in comparison to major rivals (Facebook).  Google announced Google+  in 2011 and even intended it to pursue the “circles of users” concepts even more than Facebook, but it has not taken off.
  
I have found Google+ useful in stimulating discussion on YouTube videos I like, particularly on classical music.  I have not used it a lot in other areas for communicating news.
  
This development would raises potential questions in my own mind about the long range future of Blogger, this platform, also owned by Google but completely separate from it (but available through the same Google account).  I don’t know how well the business model for Blogger works today compared to a decade ago; but I have wondered that since around 2015, as I have noticed that not that many people advertise on the blogs (that I happen to look at), despite claims to the contrary on product forums. But I don't see that Blogger could present any of the same security problems. 

There have not been that many high-profile shutdowns of consumer platforms. AOL shutdown its Hometown product in 2007 for low usage and provided a transition to Blogger. Myspace seems to be running OK. 
    
This is a developing story that will be covered in more detail on posts on other blogs, as there are strategic implications especially for individual users (compared to whole companies and enterprises)

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