Farewell. Adios. Goodbye, Google+. As expected, and then announced recently on Google’s blog, Google+ will be no more as of April 2019. If you are like me, you will be relieved to see it fade into the sunset, though I know there are some die-hard fans that are truly sad to see it go.
Thanks to two major security breaches, the platform is even closing the door four months earlier than previously planned, with API access being revoked as early as March 2019. I can’t say I am surprised when you couple this security flaw with low consumer engagement.
Before we say a final farewell, it’s important to understand how this may impact your personal details and the possible security risks.
Google+ Leak #1: October 2018
The Wall Street Journal reported a bug with Google+, which Google had left unfixed for as long as three years and never reported to consumers. Essentially, the bug allowed third-party developers to access private information on the Google+ user. Google reports that the exposed information “does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.”
It appeared Google chose not to reveal this breach because they were worried about their credibility, but it was also apparent they did not know the full extent of this breach.
Google+ Leak #2: November 2018
Affecting 52.5 million users, the second data leak occurred in November. While it was discovered quickly and fixed, the end result was a decision to shut down the platform. Despite the transparency by Google the second time around, it wasn’t enough to save the social network.
Protect Your Privacy
By now, hopefully you are diligent about protecting your privacy on-line. The latest data breaches by Google+ are a good reminder to make sure you update passwords frequently, use strong passwords, enable two-step verifications, and monitor your credit report. Experian offers additional guidelines here and you should check out our article on strong passwords and secure websites.
Close Your Google+ Account
Next, we recommend that you go ahead and close your Google+ account. While the account will automatically terminate in April, we suggest getting a head start. There is no need to risk additional data breaches since the platform will cease to exist shortly anyway.
Here are instructions straight from Google Help:
Delete your Google+ profile
Make sure you’re signed in to the right account before you delete your profile. You’re signed in as the account you want to delete. If that’s not the profile you want to delete, change the account you’re signed in on and try signing in again.
You can delete your Google+ profile any time by going to http://plus.google.com/downgrade, signing in, and following the instructions on that page. If you see an upgrade page, you don’t have a Google+ profile.
What happens after you delete your Google+ profile
Deleting your Google+ profile will not affect certain other Google products, like Search, Gmail, and your Google Account.
To learn more about what happens when you delete your Google+ profile, visit the downgrade page. You can see the downgrade page without deleting your profile.
Restore a deleted Google+ profile
Deleting your Google+ profile is permanent. To use Google+ again after deleting your profile, you’ll need to create a new profile.
Delete your Google Account
If you want to stop using all Google products that make you sign in, like Gmail and Google Wallet, you can delete your Google Account.
Uninstall the Google+ Android app
If you are running Marshmallow and your device manufacturer allows it, you can follow these steps to uninstall apps on your Android device. You can’t uninstall the Google+ app on some Android devices, but you can disable it.
And, now, we bid farewell, Google+. After all these security issues, I can’t say I will miss it, personally! If you are one of the few mourning its shutdown, we recommend adopting Bryan Ruby’s strategy. Be sure to follow your favorite people by way of their blog or Twitter account so that you can keep those conversations flowing!
As always, if you need help with closing your Google+ account or adjusting your social media marketing strategy due to these changes, we’d be happy to connect. Contact us any time!
~Jenny Green, Co-Owner @ Fisher Green Creative, firstname.lastname@example.org