Alphabet’s Google had announced its plans to completely shut down Google+ back in December last year. Launched in 2011, Google+ was expected to be the company’s answer to Facebook with a number of similar features. However, it didn’t gain much traction over the years. While Google+ will cease to exist from April 2, 2019, the company now says it will start removing some of the features as early as February 4. Google has outlined the timeline when and which features will be taken offline first and how Google+ users can download their data.
On a new support page posted on Monday, Google says from February 4 it will stop letting users create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events. Google+ community owners and moderators can download their data starting early March 2019. This data will include author information, content body, and photos posted in a public community on Google+.
Starting April 2, 2019, Google+ accounts and pages will be taken offline. Google will delete all consumer data. In case you archived photos and videos from Google+, they’ll be deleted as well. In case you have a lot of data resting on Google+ servers, make sure you download and save it well before April 2.
However, Google claims the process of deleting consumer Google+ data will take a couple of months. Content posted on Google+ may remain visible during that time. The company says users may still be able to view activity logs and some consumer Google+ content may also be visible via G Suite.
On the new support page, Google still claims the company had decided to kill Google+ due to low usage and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product.” However, a bug was discovered last year that exposed user data of 500,000 users. Google still maintains no developer had exploited the vulnerability and the company hasn’t been able to find any misuse of the data.