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Why the end of Google+ could start problems for you

Mark Tomkins - Creative Director at Aubergine
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Google announced in December 2018 that it was going to finally close down the Google+ service.

In a fierce market dominated by a few, longer-established sites (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter), it had decided the landscape is too competitive to continue with its Google+ platform. It launched a little late behind the curve and never really caught up or found its niche.

From the beginning of February new account creation was halted and some users will have started to see accounts being closed down, especially if there has been inactivity for some time. Even if you don’t regularly use Google+, its demise could affect Google My Business profiles so it’s important to make sure you’ve taken steps to minimise any problems.

All Google+ accounts will be closed by April 2019.

There are some implications that may affect you that you must consider:

  • If you use the Google+ button to sign in to other websites and services (also known as SSO – Single Sign-On) this will stop working after April and you will need to use another SSO-enabled account to access those sites.
  • Remove Google+ widgets from any websites you have by March 7, 2019, otherwise it might affect functionality of your site (these are usually connected using SSO).
  • Images and content will be permanently deleted. Google+ have provided some tools to download all your Google+ page content.
  • If you use Google+ to comment on other websites blogs and Blogger, this will cease from April although Google say any previous comments and posts will remain on those sites.
  • If you are a Google+ Community Leader you will have additional tools to help you correspond with your Groups.

Google My Business, Google Maps, Reviews

As an Official Google Partner we have been discussing other possible knock-on effects with Google representatives via their Twitter channel. We were concerned that the complete removal of the Google+ content may negatively effect the Google My Business Map, Image and Reviews content. However, they have assured us these services will not be affected.

Protection of Google My Business profiles

With Google’s interconnected system of images and video, reviews and other data, we recommend vigilance.

Google My Business (GMB) ‘scrapes’ lots of its content from many sources and, whilst Google have said that the closure of Google+ will not affect their other services in any way, we think all GMB users should keep a close eye on their profiles.

Here’s our advice:

  • Make sure you can access and log in to your GMB account. It will almost certainly use a Gmail email address as the username. We suspect there’ll be a big surge of users trying to log in so the earlier you check the logins, the better.
  • While you’re there, it makes sense to enable 2-Factor Authentication (2fa) on your account for added security. It’s good practice and gives peace of mind.
  • Make a note of the number of Google Reviews you have and the name and date of the first & last review left – just in case you need a datum point.
  • Check that your address, telephone, website and other profile info is correct. It doesn’t hurt to do this regularly anyway.
  • Take a look at roughly what images and any video content are visible on the GMB page, too.

Your logo

GMB very often scrapes a company’s logo for the page from the Google+ page and so it’s very possible that after the shutdown logos could be missing from GMB Reviews/Maps and the profile page. We know this because we recently trademarked the Aubergine logo. The one that appears in Google search results is the one pre-trademark, which has come from our Google+ page.

Make sure you have a copy of your logo to add to GMB directly before Google+ is closed down.

Even if you don’t think this affects you, a general Google Search profile review is always a sensible thing to do periodically, anyway.

Need help?

If you are unsure what to do, Google have some useful FAQs on their Google+ page but if that falls short of what you need, please call our Official Google Partner Team on 01525 373020 for further assistance.