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Google+ Edit

Google Plus (stylized as Google+) is an internet based social network that is owned and operated by Google.

Google+

Type of site

Social networking service

Identity service

Available in Multilingual
Founded June 28, 2011; 6 years ago[1]
Area served Worldwide (2011–present)
Owner Google
Key people Larry Page - (Co-founder)

Sergey Brin - (Co-founder)
Bradley Horowitz - (Vice President Product)

Industry Internet
Slogan(s) Get way into what you love[2]
Website plus.google.com
Commercial Yes
Registration Required
Users 111 million active users[3]
Launched June 28, 2011; 6 years ago, replaced Google Buzz
Current status Active
Written in Java and JavaScript[4]

Google+ is the company's fourth foray into social networking, following Google Buzz (launched 2010, retired in 2011), Google Friend Connect (launched 2008, retired by March 1, 2012), and Orkut (launched in 2004, as of 2013 operated entirely by subsidiary Google Brazil – retired in September 2014[5]).

Google+ launched in June 2011. Features included the ability to post photos and status updates to the stream or interest based communities, group different types of relationships (rather than simply "friends") into Circles, a multi-person instant messaging, text and video chat called Hangouts, events, location tagging, and the ability to edit and upload photos to private cloud-based albums.[6][7]

According to a 2016 book by a former Facebook employee, some leaders at Facebook saw Google's foray into social networking as a serious threat to the company. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg instituted a company-wide "lockdown", signaling that employees were supposed to dedicate time to bringing Facebook's features into line with Google+.[8]

GrowthEdit Edit

Assessments of Google+ growth have varied widely because Google first defined the service as a social network,[6] then later as "a social layer across all of Google's services", allowing them to share a user's identity and interests.[9] According to Ars Technica, Google+ signups were "often just an incidental byproduct of signing up for other Google services."[10][11][12] Consequently, the reported number of active users on Google+ grew significantly, but the average time those users spent on the site was a small fraction of that on comparable social media services.

In 2011 Google+ reached 10 million users just two weeks after the launch.[13] In a month, it reached 25 million.[14] In October 2011, the service reached 40 million users, according to Larry Page.[15] Based on ComScore, the biggest market was the United States followed by India.[16] By the end of the year Google+ had 90 million users.[17] In October 2013, approximately 540 million monthly active users made use of the social layer by interacting with Google+'s enhanced properties, like Gmail, +1 button, and YouTube comments.[18] Some 300 million monthly active users participated in the social network by interacting with the Google+ social networking stream.[19][20][21]

But user engagement on Google+ was low compared with its competitors. ComScore estimated that users averaged just 3.3 minutes on the site in January 2012, versus 7.5 hours for Facebook.[22][23] In March 2013, average time spent on the site remained low: roughly 7 minutes, according to Nielsen, not including traffic via apps.[24] In February 2014, The New York Times likened Google+ to a ghost town, citing Google stats of 540 million "monthly active users", but noting that almost half don't visit the site. The company replied that the significance of Google+ was less as a Facebook competitor than as a means of gathering and connecting user information from Google's various services.[25]

Changes in management and product directionEdit Edit

In April 2014, Vic Gundotra, the executive in charge of Google+, departed the company[26] with management responsibility going to David Besbris. By March 2015, Google executive Bradley Horowitz, who had co-founded Google Plus with Gundotra, had replaced Besbris, becoming vice president of streams, photos, and sharing.[27]

In an interview with Steven Levy published on May 28, 2015, Horowitz said that Google+ was about to undergo a "huge shift" that would better reflect how the service is actually used. By that time, two core Google+ functions, communications and photos, had become standalone services.[28][29][30] Google Photos, Google's photo and video library, was announced at the May 2015 Google I/O conference.[31]Google Hangouts, Google's communications platform, was announced two years earlier, also at Google I/O. Google subsequently refocused Google+ on shared interests, removing features not supporting "an interest-based social experience". The company also eliminated the Google+ social layer; users no longer needed a Google+ profile to share content and communicate with contacts. The transition began with YouTube, where a Google+ profile was no longer required to create, upload, or comment on a channel, but a Google+ page was instead required. YouTube comments no longer appeared on Google+ or vice versa.[32][33][34][35]

On November 18, 2015, Google unveiled a significant redesign of Google+; the new interface places a larger focus on the Communities and Collections functionality in an effort to narrow the service's scope into interest-based networking.[36]

RedesignEdit Edit

In November 2015, Google Plus underwent a redesign with the stated intent of making the site simpler and faster, making the new features of Communities and Collections more prominent, and removing features such as Hangouts, Events and Custom URLs.[37] Until January 24, 2017, users accessing the site using desktop computers could access some of the discontinued features by selecting option "Back to classic G+".