A reader is concerned over a recent message from Google:

“Got an email from Google saying that they are doing away with the Google+ not sure what that is? Does it also mean we might lose our Gmail accounts? Do you know anything about this?”

google-plus-square.jpg

First, there’s no need to worry about your Gmail account. And I’m not surprised you aren’t aware of Google + (pronounced Google plus), that’s sort of been the problem all along for the service. Google + was a social media platform created back in 2011. It was intended to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Google hoped people who used their other products like Gmail and YouTube would be eager to join.  While at one time it boasted 540 million active users, those numbers were inflated by the fact that Google required users of their other services to create a Google + account to interact with popular services like Gmail or YouTube. (That’s why you were notified about the closing of an account you didn’t know you had.) A majority of those with Google + accounts never even visited the site. In fact, Google itself admitted last year that the average user interaction with the product was only about 5 seconds.

Many popular features of the service were spun off into other products.

Google announced last year that they were closing down the consumer version, though the platform will still exist for those have the paid G-suite service. Aside from declining popularity, the discovery of two separate bugs that could allow hackers to access user date contributed to the decision to shut down the service in April of 2019.

Gmail, YouTube, and other Google services won’t be affected by this shutdown.