Google Plus sadly shut down the service on April 2nd. For many us, it was always seen as something of a secondary. You could say it wasn't really a social media, but it was rather an extension of Gmail contacts. It was somewhat overshadowed by the social media giants, i.e., Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But the fact that Google offered its own social network made sense. Because Google is not just a web search engine, but it provides a variety of tools and services. Are there any Google Plus alternatives?
Google Plus was launched back in 2011, "as a Facebook killer", Marketing Artfully site called it. Back in that year, Facebook was the most popular social media network. However, Google wanted to come up with a new SNS to beat the popularity of Facebook. With that objective, they released Google Plus.
It is true that Google Plus received a lot of attention during the early days. However, it was not in a position to surpass the popularity of Facebook. In 2011, Google Plus was launched as an invitation-only service. Later it was made available for the public to sign up and use freely. After the introduction, it received mixed feedbacks. The users who loved the new platform thought the clean interface of Google Plus was impressive. However, it was not able to retain popularity along with time.
Why Did Google+ Close Its Service?
As you already know, Google Plus shut down its service on April 2nd, but only for personal uses. Business users are still able to use Google Plus and the services offered. In fact, Google Plus has always been considered as an enterprise level product. And now, Google is focusing on catering to the needs of enterprise-level customers and provide them with a better service by the looks of it.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the real reasons why Google has decided to terminate Google Plus and the other services offered along with it to personal users. According to the blog published by Google back in October 2018, Ben Smith, Google Fellow and Vice President of Engineering said, its social network had seen limited user interaction with its apps. The consumer version of Google+ had low usage and engagement: 90% of the user sessions were less than five seconds.
It is interesting to hear this in retrospect because one cumbersome aspect of Google Plus was to follow other people. In order to follow/connect with someone, a user had to take a few clicks, which took a few seconds. Google Plus was not designed to reach out to as many people, yet the users hardly spent 5 seconds.
Google has discovered a bug in Google Plus as well. This bug was there in the People APIs. As a result, the third party applications were provided with the ability to gain access to the user accounts that were there in the social media network. In other words, the third-party applications could get hold of the name, occupation, email address, age and gender of the Google Plus users. However, they were not able to get hold of the other essential details, such as the messages and phone numbers.
It didn’t take a long time for Google to discover this bug. As soon as it was found, a patch was dispatched back in March 2018. Along with the incident, Google had to face a series of challenges to cater the user expectations and provide a high-quality service. That’s why they thought of shutting down the service offered.
With all that said, many social media experts rounded up that the competition given by Facebook is one of the primary reasons behind the failure of Google Plus.
What Are The Best Google Plus Alternatives?
Now The "Plus" has disappeared from the list of the user's Google list. During the final few months, users were repeatedly advised to save all the posts before they were all removed before April 2nd.
If you already have other major social networks but are still searching for more, here is a list of some of the best Google Plus alternatives that you can consider. When Google Plus was still live, there was a community that was named as "Google Plus Mass Integration". This community had more than 5,000 users and most of the users were leaders who were coming from the other large scale social media experts' communities. The list is based on their various advice. You can go through the descriptions and figure out the functionalities offered. Then you can select a platform out of them and proceed with it.
MeWe is considered as a privacy-focused social media network. The slogan is "Your private life is #Not4Sale No Ads. No Spyware. No BS." On this network, you will not be able to find data mining, user tracking, and advertisements. Hence, you will be able to enjoy your social interaction without distracted by annoying ads or commercial invitations. MeWe can be a suitable replacement for Google Plus.
With that said, MeWe allows you to create your own business page where you can update your "friends" with information by sharing posts. Also to engage with new users by displaying your contact information and website details publicly.
Mastodon has a strong anti-abuse and harrassment tools so that the users can protect themselves. It is unique because it has independently-operated servers and each server has a separate admin more a moderation team, as well as their own code of conduct. This can provide a strong sense of reliability to the users, as the entire social media network is resistant to deletion.
With Mastodon, you can simply join a server as an individual, or if you are an organization, you can also have your own server installed. Any person will be able to host their own server within the network.
It allows you to "toot" (equivalent to tweet) up to 500 characters at a time including custom emojis. Your feed is chronological and non-algorithmic. Advertisement free.
Like Mastodon, diaspora* is another decentralized social media network. It runs on independent servers ("Pods") and the users can choose which pod to register with, then can connect with community from all over the world.
What's unique about diaspora* is that, it officially allows you to use a fake identity, which will give you more freedom ("Be who you want to be.") It can be considered as a reimagined version of circles that you can see in Google Plus.
You can choose where your data is stored, and if you want to be extra secure, you can set up your own "pod" and connect only with pods that you can trust. You will be able to use this feature to identify people based on the categories that they fall into. Just like Twitter, you can use hashtags, reshare, "love" and @mention.
Google Plus Alternatives - Sum Up
If your social circle was based on your Gmail contact addresses, then Google Plus was a convenient social media service to stay connected, and you may have felt sad to see it go. But with new technology and new security measures are developed and brought in quicker than ever, you will continuously discover new ways of interacting with others. Who knows what will happen to Facebook in a year time from now?