You should have gotten an email from Google:
In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.
On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.
The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.
As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.
See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.
If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more
If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more
If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more
If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more
If you’re a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.
From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.
According to Hubspot:
“Google discovered (and reportedly fixed) in March a bug that mistakenly allowed developers access to Google+ user profile [half a million users] information fields that had been marked as private.
These fields include name, email address, occupation, gender and age. According to Google’s official statement, the information potentially exposed ‘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.'”
Well, considering all the data breaches experienced by Facebook and other companies, 500 thousand users is minor.
No website or company is 100% hack-proof.
Google+ is finally closing
So, Google is closing down Google+ on April 2, 2019. What should you do?
- Do not delete your business BRAND PAGES until Google notifies you that you can download your data. If you have a YouTube channel, your logo and business info is connected with your G+ brand page. If you delete your G+ account, that will take your logo off your YT channel. Google will inform users before the pages go down and how to save your posts and data.
- You can stop posting to G+. If you use JetPack on a WordPress site, disconnect G+. Do it now so that if and when they do take it down, it doesn’t mess up your connections. Disconnect any other automated posts you have going to G+ also.
- Remove any G+ follow buttons and widgets from your website.
Well, since Google My Business is just for Brick-and-Mortar locations — it’s tied to Google Maps — that leaves home-based & eCommerce businesses without the benefit of the connection G+ had to the search engine.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure your profile pages on the other social networks are updated and complete:
- Facebook Business Page – though it’s harder now for a new business to gain followers, it still helps with branding and SEO to have a complete listing there.
- LinkedIn Company Page – You have an individual account on LinkedIn with your name (and picture) and your company should have a company page (the “Yellow Pages”) for credibility and SEO.
- Twitter – have a Twitter account just for your business. Make sure your website is linked there.
- If you’re trying to reach the consumer, Instagram and Pinterest are important. They are all visuals, so plan out graphics and videos for a strategy that works.
- Blog at least once a week. Google looks for fresh, relevant content written for the human reader. If you want Google to notice you, you have to blog.
- Continue posting to the other social media networks. Google picks up links and text from your posts.
You can’t stop.
If you do, Google will think you’ve closed up shop and your competition will beat you to the first page of Google.