Frequently asked, anticipated, and answered questions.
- 1 Meta
- 1.1 Q: What is this?
- 1.2 Q: Why is this happening?
- 1.3 Q: April 2, 2019? I thought the shutdown was in August, 2019?
- 1.4 Q: When was this originally announced?
- 1.5 Q: Will Google+ be publicly readable after April 2, 2019?
- 1.6 Q: Why is Google shutting down Google+?
- 1.7 Q: Is there a shorter FAQ to re-share?
- 1.8 Q: Is there an official Google FAQ on the shutdown?
- 2 Appeals
- 3 Remaining on Google / Google+
- 4 Google Products and Services
- 4.1 Q: Are other Google services, such as Gmail, going to be shutdown?
- 4.2 Q: Are Google+ APIs affected by this shutdown?
- 4.3 Q: What Google products are affected in some way by the Google+ shutdown?
- 4.4 Q: What Google Products should not be affected at all?
- 4.5 Q: What about my G+ photos in the Google Photos album "Photos from Posts"?
- 4.6 Q: Do you know how I can contact Google for support or questions?
- 5 The Exodus
- 5.1 Q: Where will the Google+ users be moving to?
- 5.2 Q: Why won't there be a consensus?
- 5.3 Q: When will destinations be decided?
- 5.4 Q: What do you mean by "commitments"? What authority do you have?
- 5.5 Q: What are the options?
- 5.6 Q: How should I/we choose?
- 5.7 Q: Are there risks involved?
- 5.8 Q: Self-hosted or volunteer servers are among the options you're considering?
- 5.9 Q: Who will pay for that?
- 5.10 Q: Would self-hosting from a home be possible?
- 5.11 Q: Commercial and/or proprietary services are also being considered?
- 5.12 Q: How will those be financed?
- 5.13 Q: Are there risks involved with proprietary services?
- 6 Content and Data Export and Migration
- 6.1 Q: Can I migrate my Google+ Data?
- 6.2 Q: Do I have to export my data?
- 6.3 Q: Can I or should I delete my account?
- 6.4 Q: I run a Google+ Community, how do I migrate that?
- 6.5 Q: I have only a mobile device, or limited, slow, or expensive Internet, how can I migrate my content?
- 6.6 Q: Will there be an third-party archives of Google+?
- 7 Contacts and Followers Migration
- 7.1 Q: Is there an easy and straightforward way to collect and migrate my contacts and followers to other site(s) or platform(s)?
- 7.2 Q: How can I preserve contacts information?
- 7.3 Q: Will the page contacts.google.com and Google+ Circles content on it survive April 2, 2019?
- 7.4 Q: Are there services which will automatically migrate or create new accounts based on existing Community members?
- 7.5 Q: What's the best way to keep people informed of my new location(s) and be easy to find there?
- 7.6 Q: What if I / my followers don't want to publicly announce future location(s)?
- 8 Personal action
- 9 Points of Contact
- 9.1 Q: Is there a Google+ Community for information and discussion?
- 9.2 Q: Is there a list of Google+ communities at other sites?
- 9.3 Q: Is there a Facebook group?
- 9.4 Q: Is there a Twitter hashtag?
- 9.5 Q: Is there a subreddit?
- 9.6 Q: I've heard <thing> about <site, service, platform, or company>, is it true?
- 10 About Google+
- 11 The Crew
Q: What is this?
A: A Wiki to help individuals, informal, and formal communities moving off of Google's Google+ social network and re-establishing themselves elsewhere.
Q: Why is this happening?
A: Google will be shutting down its social network, Google+, on April 2, 2019. The public Google+ website will no longer be available, and Google and begin deleting all associated user content on that date, though deletion may take some months. The stated concern is "due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations", though earlier Google had named privacy and security requirements for the service.
It is only the Google+ Social network that will be discontinued. Other Google products, including Web Search, Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, and many others will continue to function. More on this below.
Q: April 2, 2019? I thought the shutdown was in August, 2019?
A: On January 30, 2019 Google finally specified a shutdown date after previuosly moving the schedule forward by four months, on 10 December, 2018, stating they'd found further security issues with the site. The initial October 8 announcement had specified an August 2019 target.
Q: When was this originally announced?
A: October 8, 2018, announced in the Google Blog post "Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+:
Finding 1: There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations.
Action 1: We are shutting down Google+ for consumers.
This announcement was further updated on 10 December 2018 as noted in the preceding FAQ.
Q: Will Google+ be publicly readable after April 2, 2019?
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.
Q: Why is Google shutting down Google+?
A: The stated reasons have been, in the October 8, 2018 announcement, Google said "There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations", in the context of an announced security vulnerability.
In the January 30, 2019 announcement, Google justified the decision as "due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. "
Other unstated reasons or factors could only be speculated at.
A: Yes, here, formatted for posting to G+: G+MM Short FAQ.
Q: Is there an official Google FAQ on the shutdown?
A: Yes: "Frequently asked questions about the Google+ shutdown": https://support.google.com/plus/answer/9217723
A: And one for G Suite users. "Important changes to Google+ for G Suite due to the consumer shutdown": https://support.google.com/a/answer/9229693?hl=en
Q: Is there a petition to keep G+ open?
A: Yes, several. Don't Shut Down Google+ appears among the larger, with over 35,000 signatures as of 30 January 2019.
Q: Do you think it will work?
Google have reversed themselves on some technical features and releases over the years. We're unaware that they've ever reversed a product kill decision. And they've had plenty of opportunity to do so.
Remaining on Google / Google+
Q: Is there any way to continue using Google+ after the sunset?
A: Google will continue offering an enterprise / corporate product, as a paid service (free for education and non-profit), which may present an option.
This will be part of Google's G Suite brand with per-user per-month pricing tiers of $5, $10, and $25 (annually $60, $120, and $300), for Basic, Business, and Enterprise tiers, all in US dollars. Those prices will soon increase. https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/g-suite/new-pricing-for-g-suite-basic-and-business-editions
G Suite Google+ will not have Circles or Collections, core elements of Consumer Google+.
Qualified registered non-profit / NGO organisations may be eligible for free usage at the Basic level.
Or you could apply to work for Google.
Now, for the good part! Communities owned by and with members with G Suite accounts will remain!
Of course, they will not be open to the public, since all consumer accounts will be deleted, so instead they will be turned into invite-only communities. This is all described and updated on the Google+ for G Suite support page.
Important: There is currently no migration of content back into Google+ possible! All consumer users' content will be deleted. For migration/export of data check further down in this FAQ.
Q: Can a public G+ user profile be converted to an Enterprise profile?
A: Not so far as we're aware, from Google Top Contributor John Skeats.
Those looking at converting use, particularly of Communities, to G Suite will likely face other obstacles. There is no present path for converting profiles or communities from Public to G Suite, nor can content be imported to Google+. So a Public to G Suite conversion would effectively be starting fresh with both profiles, communities, and content.
This is of course subject to change by Google, though as with many other topics, Google have not offered any substantive commentary on support or capabilities other than moving forward the sunset date by four months, as of 11 December 2018.
There are claims that a converted "community would remain accessible to non-[G Suite domain] users. 'It's just the ownership that will change' (i.e., existing users would not need new identities and old data would be preserved)." We are unaware of a public Google statement to this effect.
Google Products and Services
Q: Are other Google services, such as Gmail, going to be shutdown?
A: To the limited extent we understand Google Product offerings, the logic by which they are interrelated, and the frequency with which they are sent to their death in gladiatorial combat: NO.
As information becomes available, certain linked Google+ features are affected. Check with the support resources for the specific product(s) involved, though many of these concern Google+ APIs (next question).
Several such interactions are mentioned in the January 30 announcement, including Google+ Sign-in, Google+ comments on remote sites (including Blogger), the Archived and some G Suite interactions.
APIs are also affected see below.
Q: Are Google+ APIs affected by this shutdown?
A: Yes, and before the full shutdown occurs.
The Google+ API will shut down on 7 March 2019. "Intermittent failures" will begin as early as 28 January 2019. This will affect iOS, Android, and other App developers, as well as Websites using Google+ features.
Affected Web features include:
- Web integration including plugins such as +1s, sharing and Follow buttons, Google+ badges, embedded posts, and interactive posts.
- Mobile app integration, such as +1 buttons, sharing to Google+, and app activities.
- Google+ sign-in.
Migration is NOT automatic. Affected apps / sites will have to be manually converted, if alternate functionality is supported at all.
- Google+ REST API
- Google+ Web API
- Google+ Android SDK
- Google+ Domains API (G Suite)
- Google+ Pages API (social media management services)
Some Google+ archival tools may be affected by the API shutdown. Check with your vendor / developer for information.
Q: What Google products are affected in some way by the Google+ shutdown?
A: Products that will continue but may be affected by the Google+ shutdown include:
- Google Photos: Album "G+Photos from Posts" will be deleted after April 2, 2019. See: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/
- Album Archive: Will be deleted after April 2, 2019. See: FAQ.
- Blogger: Comments from Google+ will be removed after February 4, 2019. FAQ.
- Other third-party Google+ comments on blogs: will be removed after March 7, 2019. FAQ.
- G Suite tools: multiple interactions across several products, see Google documentation.
- Google Play Beta Program: Yes, Google recommend leaving the programme. See Google documentation and FAQ.
Q: What Google Products should not be affected at all?
A: Products that are not affected are virtually all others, including as a very partial list these which are frequently inquired of:
- Google Web Search
- Google Play Store
- Hangouts (this will later merge with other chat tools)
- Google Photos
- Google Drive
- Google Maps
- Google Docs
- Chrome browser
- Chrome OS
- Chromebook computers
Q: What about my G+ photos in the Google Photos album "Photos from Posts"?
A: That album will be deleted from Google Photos. If you want to preserve its contents, export that through Google Data Takeout. Per TC John Elstone.
Q: Do you know how I can contact Google for support or questions?
A: This seems to be Google's Blog and Social Directory, you might try finding your product contact there.
Q: Where will the Google+ users be moving to?
A: There is no single destination or consensus, nor will there be, and we will not be recommending a specific site, platform, or product. Our goal is to provide you with the information and tools to decide among your friends, Circles, and Communities.
That is the whole purpose of this Wiki and project.
On an individual level, there are many options to choose from and some Established G+ Diaspora Communities. Also see Where can I get in touch with / stay in touch with people?.
Q: Why won't there be a consensus?
A: It mostly boils down to two reasons: it's impractical, and creates too many other conflicts.
A recent discussion of this question brought the complaint that "there isn't even a consensus about whether there's a consensus", to which we responded, paraphrasing: that's the point.
Creating a consensus requires first agreeing that there will be a consensus, and then means getting many disparate parties to come to agreement. Given the time and resources, let alone the fact that we don't even know how many parties there are, the task of trying to come to some sort of group decision simply isn't feasible. Throw in other factors such as widely differing needs and the question of whether a single destination is even a Good Thing (we're inclined to think it isn't), and you're all the further from that prospect.
The other problem is that in selecting specific winners and losers we lose any appearance of impartiality. We've been willing to work with many parties, and have cautioned against some options, some strongly, but we're avoiding saying "this is where you should go". We do plan on suggesting a useful set of at-least-interim homes, focusing in simple, stable, proved, and effective technologies: email, mailing lists, blogs, and well-established forum platforms including Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Reddit, and perhaps a few major social networking platforms, may be in that mix.
But the policy is that we won't tell you where to go, and that there will be no consensus. We'll offer you the tools to consider and choose for yourself and your community.
Q: When will destinations be decided?
A: Given the
10-month six month window and some logistical elements, individual and group commitments are likely to be made by early January, 2019, if not sooner. If you are reading this after that date and have not yet decided you need to chose a straightforward and available option NOW.
A: The commitments refer to the individuals and/or groups who hope to move together. They will be committing (and we are among them). The hope is to facilitate gathering information on available options and procedures for moving, by that time. Some may commit earlier, some later. We have no authority other than as information sources, hopefully credible, known to the community.
Q: What are the options?
A: A range of existing services, websites, platforms, or collections of same.
The space is interesting, and the range of what might be considered social media is broad. Obvious contenders include major commercial services, including those such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit. Others see opportunities in Free Software and Federated systems. There are several recently-developed or smaller services, and several new commercially and non-commercially organised sites, as well as new protocols and collaborative platforms. It's an exciting time to be alive. There are strong advocates, and opponents, to almost all of these choices. And there's the possibility that people will retreat to a simple homespun offline existence, which has its attractions. Social media and the Internet have presented some interesting challenges, disappointments, and dangers, as has become apparent in recent years.
Q: How should I/we choose?
A: Again, there's no simple answer. But as guidance:
- Discuss or research your contacts', friends' and associates' plans. Where your social group goes will be the most significant determinant, generally.
- Pick a site or platform that exists and is viable NOW. If at all possible, that has some years of proven history.
- Distinguish between "skin" and "bone" factors. It's the deep and integral features of a site, its bones, that have the biggest impact on its long-term trends. Topical skin elements, such as site layout, mobile app, etc., can be improved (if poor) or hide many deeper issues (if flashy).
- Consider the business, business model, trust, reliability, and community. These are all bone factors that can have tremendous impacts on a site or platform. They tend not to change radically, and rarely improve, if not currently good or viable.
- Preserve your future options. Decisions now that don't lock you into a single choice are likely best.
- Think of your own goals. What do you want or need to get out of your social media / online experience? Do you simply need private chat? Public visibility? Microblogging? Social networking? A full blog? Something more complex? Simple tools like SMS chat, instant messenger apps, email, RSS, and blogs remain surprisingly effective.
- Does the option give you control over your own data? Having to move your content, contacts, photos, and other online data is painful, slow, and possibly expensive. Insuring against having to do this again may be valuable.
- Privacy, cost, complexity, accessibility, and usefulness all deserve consideration. Think of what you care for and what you don't want. Add other concerns you may have.
As you look at your goals, your circle's plans (or lack), the options, and what you do and don't want from them, you should find your options narrowing to a few possibilities. It's all but certain these won't address all your wants. But they should address basic needs and not present showstoppers.
Q: Are there risks involved?
A: Yes, many. We're working on that in a Risks and Threat Models section.
These are the usual: data, hardware, financial, copyright, abuse, harassment, malware, vandalism, burnout, propaganda, disinformation / misinformation, technical debt, fascism / demagoguery, groupthink, surveillance, data harvesting, admin betrayal, sellout, plague, famine, pestilence, divine fire, etc., etc.
Q: Self-hosted or volunteer servers are among the options you're considering?
Q: Who will pay for that?
A: This is one of many questions we're assessing. For some options per user costs appear to be low, though in aggregate, they add up. One option for a self-hosted federated server seems to run about $25/month for about 1,000 users. The per-user per-year rate may be about $0.25, in hosting costs, though there may be other expenses involved. The irony is that the costs are so low that charging individually is not particularly economical, the modern version of "too cheap to meter". This doesn't mean that the costs of larger servers are insignificant.
Q: Would self-hosting from a home be possible?
A: Perhaps. The physical computing needs should be modest, but other factors including choosing platforms, hardware, set-up, administration, security, connectivity (and interruptions), privacy, and security need to be considered. This should be viable for some users though likely not all. The question is likely to be if it's a matter of few, many, or most. If users share servers or provide services to others, further questions arise, mostly over resolving and addressing control, disagreements, and liabilities. These are among the risk concerns.
Q: Commercial and/or proprietary services are also being considered?
We expect people and organisations will adopt a range of platforms, from major leading contenders (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and even various Google services), to new or less-familiar offerings.
Q: How will those be financed?
A: Also an open question, though advertising, subscription business models, and numerous other business models, some more likely than others, exist.
Q: Are there risks involved with proprietary services?
A: Absolutely. Some are widely recognised, some less so. Surveillance capitalism, state and non-state surveillance, business continuity, product cancellation (as we're facing presently), data loss, buggy software, malware, and more. Life is risk. More below.
Content and Data Export and Migration
Q: Can I migrate my Google+ Data?
A: Yes. See the Data Migration Process and Considerations page.
You are most likely to succeed with the Friends+Me Google+ Exporter. Based on our experience, it is easier, faster, and far more useful than Google's own export features.
Otherwise, Google offer a Google Data Takeout page:
After many initial frustrations, as of February 1, 2019, Google Data Takeout is far more usable and viable than previously found. It continues to have many limitations, particularly for Community owners. Using both Friends+Me Google+ Exporter and Google Data Takeout should provide you maximum coverage and options.
There are additional third-party tools which offer greater control and flexibility, as well as direct import to specific platforms. These are referenced at the link above, as well as guidelines, known issues, bug-reporting, and troubleshooting with Google Data Takeout.
Q: Do I have to export my data?
A: No, but if you don't do so now, or soon, you will not have the option to do so after April 2, 2019. This is covered at the Data Migration page in the previous answer. Google+ content will be deleted permanently by Google beginning April 2, 2019.
Realise that whilst you may not see the value in preserving your own, or any, Google+ content, others may and do feel differently.
Q: Can I or should I delete my account?
A: You can, but doing so will remove content and context for others attempting to archive their own data or Community archives. Unless you've got a compelling reason to do so, it might be appreciated if you'd wait on that.
Q: I run a Google+ Community, how do I migrate that?
A: There isn't a straighforward answer to this, though you should consider:
- Your members also face a migration that they must do, or abandon their account and relationships. Essentially you're facing two migrations then, those of your users, and your Community infrastructure, relationships, contacts, content, collateral, etc.
- Where your Community goes may influence their decision(s).
- You may choose to separate the community from any one social platform.
- Decide what assets you do and do not wish to keep.
- Google do not support a Community Export capability, but third party tools exist, particularly the Friends+Me Google+ Exporter. See discussion on the Migrating Google+ Communities page. You can request a migration tool from Google, though they appear unlikely to provide this.
- Consider your goals and endpoint, work back from there.
- Communicate as early and clearly with your members as you can. G+ Community management tools are limited at best, and an off-site option, or even a Wiki, may prove invaluable.
We will gather more information in Migrating Google+ Communities. As of 21 October 2018, as best we understand, using Google tools:
- Google+ Community metadata including descriptions and contacts, are exportable, by the community owner.
- Google+ Community posts as a whole (with or without comments) are not exportable by anyone.
- Your own Google+ Community posts (along with comments) and comments are exportable, by you.
All of the above apply to making use of Google Data Takeout.
Information has not been verified and is subject to change.
Q: I have only a mobile device, or limited, slow, or expensive Internet, how can I migrate my content?
A: There are several server-based tools presently mostly described under the Communities migration page above. These generally require use of Google+ APIs which will stop working by March 7, 2019.
There are now several sites and services offering direct import from Google+, see discussions elsewhere (especially PlexodusReddit) for more information. We'll be adding this information to the community migration page here, above.
Q: Will there be an third-party archives of Google+?
Other parties, such as PASHpost, are preemptively archiving public Google+ Communities, with the intent of offering to host these for the community in future. Though somewhat controversial, the firm is balancing difficulties in contacting Community leads through or off Google+, with a rapidly looming shutdown deadline.
Contacts and Followers Migration
Q: Is there an easy and straightforward way to collect and migrate my contacts and followers to other site(s) or platform(s)?
Unfortunately, this is a major hurdle for migrating any group or community, formal or informal. There is no straightforward or automated way of re-establishing your followers on new sites or platforms. For communities and high-influence profiles (with 10s or 100s of thousands of followers or more), this is a particular concern.
Google's own suggestion is much as we've advised since the shutdown announcement:
Between now and the shutdown, we recommend you let your followers know where they can see your content outside of Google+. Consider creating a post that lists your website, blog, social media channels, and other ways to stay in touch.
Because Google+ profiles themselves are effectively system-limited addresses -- they don't have significance outside the context of Google+ -- the information
Q: How can I preserve contacts information?
A: There are several approaches, all require work and active participation by your followers.
- Post your own forwarding information as a hashtag #signalflare pinned post to your Google+ profile page(s), and include this in your Profile's "About" information. This will make your forwarding information easier to find.
- Strongly encourage your followers to do likewise.
- Fill in your AboutMe data: https://aboutme.google.com Especially, include links to profiles and addresses on other systems.
- Whilst G+ Profile pages will disappear from Google+ along with virtually all other content on April 2, 2019, there's a good chance that they will be archived elsewhere, including at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. You should be able to retrieve information from there in many cases.
- Make a Google Data Takeout and include your Google+ contacts ("Google+ Circles") in the request. This will generally not provide external contacts (email, URL, or other addresses) unless specifically added, but will include the G+ profile page URL, which can be both submitted to the Internet Archive and later referenced there.
- Provide other means of submitting contact information to you directly. Good options include:
- A dedicated contacts email address or alias for submissions. Say,
email@example.com. You can later filter this for addresses.
- A Google Form page. You can create an easy-to-use, and highly-scalable, contacts-collection form. Requesting Google+ username, profile page, and email address should be sufficient.
- Create a dedicated mailing list. This will give you both direct access to contact information and a channel for communicating with your followers until you establish a permanent new location. Services such as Mailchimp, Groups.io, and other email list services providers.
- Create a Google or Yahoo Group. Again, this provides both contact information and a communications channel to your followers.
- Manually curate lists of your own Circles, if that is sufficiently small. Finding the top G+ profiles you follow, up to a few hundred should be reasonably doable and useful.
- Add notable names and communities to the G+ Notable Names Database and G+ Notable Communities Database pages here.
- A dedicated contacts email address or alias for submissions. Say,
Q: Will the page contacts.google.com and Google+ Circles content on it survive April 2, 2019?
A: That is unclear.
It seems likely that contacts.google.com will survive the April 2, 2019 shutdown of Google+, but it's not clear if the Google+ contact information, presently consisting of Circles and Profiles, will remain. There is an article on recent changes to the page: [Timeline to move users to new Google Contacts and shut down old Contacts https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/2018/11/timeline-to-move-users-to-new-google.html] (November, 2018).
Clarification has been requested from Google as of February 16, 2019.
Q: Are there services which will automatically migrate or create new accounts based on existing Community members?
Keep in mind that creating accounts on behalf of others without their explicit approval may be considered anything from inconsiderate to illegal.
Q: What's the best way to keep people informed of my new location(s) and be easy to find there?
A: The question answers itself: Keep people informed of your new location(s), and be easy to find there.
- Post your forwarding addresses and/or contacts.
- Make sure that those work.
- Do this frequently. In the closing weeks of Google+, a weekly or more frequent post may be highly appropriate.
- Pin your contact / plan post(s) to your Profile, Community, Collection, and/or G+ Pages as appropriate.
- Edit your Profile, Community, Collection, and/or G+ Pages information to include your primary forwarding contact.
- Clearly state at your new location(s) what your previous Google+ identity or community was.
- On sites making use of hashtags, use appropriate hashtags including #GooglePlus and #GPlusRefugees, for others to find you.
- Keep those signals up for a long time. Stragglers may be drifting in for months or years.
- Spread word to others and ask them to share forward. Word-of-mouth and personal references continue to be the most effective informational outreach channels possible. Ask for these and return the favour if requested.
- Be easy to find.
Q: What if I / my followers don't want to publicly announce future location(s)?
A: Then don't post that information publicly. Find non-public options for sharing, such as the email list(s) or form(s) mentioned above. For most communities, a few high-profile public "sentinel" members will provide effective "social glue" for others to find the group. Social communities are surprisingly resilient to major shocks, so long as they're not being actively and persistently disrupted.
Q: What should I do?
A: That depends on what your goals are. So, for starters, consider your goals, and then how to get there. Often working backwards is a useful exercise. Collecting contact information, making use of Google Data Take-Out (earlier rather than later), and exploring options should be useful. We're putting together a Recommended Practices page.
Q: What do you mean by goals?
A: Essentially, answers to questions such as: After April 2, 2019:
- Do I want to have an online presence after April 2, 2019?
- Do I want to interact publicly with others online?
- Do I prefer public or private interactions?
- Do I want an interactive or post-based system? Chat or blogs?
- Do I want to preserve my G+ content -- posts, comments, photos, etc.
- Are there others I'm planning to stay in touch with? Individually or as a group?
- How technically savvy am I? Can I self-host?
- What considerations/concerns do I have over sites or services?
... and more.
Q: How can I help?
A: There are numerous tasks and roles. Initially, gathering information, exploring opportunities, and building an infrastructure to remain in touch is useful. This Wiki serves a role in that and can use help. There is an Exodus Task List.
Q: Where can I get in touch with / stay in touch with people?
A: There is a list of Established G+ Diaspora Communities. Also check out the Recommended Practices to find your contacts on other platforms. Generally the hashtags #googleplus or #gplusrefugee should help locate others, on platforms supporting them.
Points of Contact
Q: Is there a Google+ Community for information and discussion?
A: Yes, Google+ Mass Migration, among others, which are listed in the "Other Exodus Communties" section.
G+ Community Owners, Moderators, and members, may wish to check in with the Community-focused communities. There is only one with any meaningful activity and which has not been preemptively closed by Google, "G+" Community Owners (19k members). Unofficial but active community. Exodus issues are being openly discussed.
Note that Google unilaterally and without prior notice, and in one case for six weeks with no notice at all shut down the two primary G+ Community discussions, Google+ Moderators and Google+ Aspire. The first, ~1k members, was the Official G+ moderators' forum, with Google staff as owners. This community was shut down with no notice for six weeks, after which retroactive notice was posted, and comments to that post closed. The second, a similarly-focused and much larger with over 80,000 members was also shut down, though with no prior notice.
We feel this represents manifest bad faith on the part of Google in either assisting or enabling users and communities to meaningfully migrate off the platform.
Q: Is there a list of Google+ communities at other sites?
A: Yes: Established G+ Exodus Communities.
Q: Is there a Facebook group?
A: Yes, the Google Plus Meetup Group.
Q: Is there a Twitter hashtag?
A: Yes, #gplusrefugees.
Q: Is there a subreddit?
There are also /r/ploos (82 subscribers), a restricted-membership alumni community, /r/GooglePlusRefugees (198 subscribers), a general discussion forum, /r/googleplus (6,718 subscribers), specifically about Google+, though not the Exodus, and the yet more general /r/Google (520,497 subscribers).
Subscriber counts as of 29 January 2019.
Q: I've heard <thing> about <site, service, platform, or company>, is it true?
A: There's a lot being said or claimed right now, some accurate, some inaccurate, some uninformed, some simply made up. Crises breed rumour. Multiple parties are positioning themselves for advantage or even simply to sow further chaos.
Carefully assess and evaluate the validity of any information you receive, including that you find on this site. Recognise that you do NOT have to decide immediately if a thing is true or not, but that you reserve judgement.
Having a goal, strategy, and plan will help you determine what you do and don't need to pay attention to.
Don't become part of the problem yourself. If you hear a wild or unexpected claim or story, especially if it is second-hand or not from an official source, try to find an authoritative source or verify the claim before passing it on. And if you're trying to get clarification on a fact, phrase your question as "what is the correct information on foo?" rather than "is it true that foo is bar?" Examples:
- Good: "When will consumer G+ be shutting down?"
- Bad: "Is it true that consumer G+ will be shut down on <date>?" If you don't know the date for certain, don't post possibly incorrect information.
- Good: "Will <some other Google product> be affected by the G+ shutdown?"
- Bad: "I've heard that <some other Google product> will be affected by the G+ shutdown." Again: don't phrase the question being asked as a statement.
When responding to questions, try to link to an authoritative source or statement, from Google itself or another highly reliable source if possible. Google are making this exceedingly difficult by announcing little if anything about the shutdown. Do the best you can. Do not guess or answer if you are uncertain, and try to phrase your response unambiguously.
Spreading bad information helps no one worth helping.
Q: What was Google+?
A: A social networking site created by Google and launched in June, 2011. Wikipedia:Google+ is a good overview.
Q: How big was Google+?
A: That depends on how you measure. It's also frustrated by the fact that Google provided relatively few (or credible) statistics on the site. We've come by some estimates over the years, some of the best by Stone Temple Consulting, "Hard Numbers for Public Posting Activity on Google+", in 2015, near the site's high-water mark:
- 3.4 billion registered profiles (March 2017, Sitemaps).
- About 9% of these ever posted publicly, though most of those posts were actually YouTube content. About 110 million appear to have actively posted to G+ directly at least once.
- 6.5 million with 50+ posts, ever.
- 3.5 million with 50+ posts _and_ posts within the past 30 days.
- 1.9 million with 10+ posts within 30 days.
- 106 thousand with 50+ posts within 30 days.
- 53 thousand with 100+ posts within 30 days.
For some recent indicators of activity:
- The Google+ Mass Migration community has gained over 4,100 members between October 8, 2018 and February 1, 2019.
- The Pluspora pod of Diaspora has about 10,000 users.
- A petition to save Google+ at Change.org drew over 35,000 signatures.
- Various exodus communities typically report a few tens to hundreds of members as of February 1, 2019.
We further estimate:
- Total posts: on the order of 800 million.
- Total text data: on the order of 200 GB.
- Images: on about 30% of posts.
The total Web payload is significantly larger -- a typical post is less than 250 bytes, but the minimum G+ webpage is 800 KB.
Q: How big were Google+ Communities?
A: As of January 5-6, 2019, there were 8,107,099 communities, a number growing at a net rate of about 1% per month.
The vast majority are small and with little or no activity, though there are still a considerable number of large and active communities. On a per-user basis, peak engagement (by posts, comments, plus-ones, and reshares) seems to be for communities with about 100 - 3,000 members.
Bracketed by size:
- 66 communities > 1,000,000+ members
- 1,100 communities > 100,000+ members
- 10,044 communities > 10,000+ members
- 64,775 communities > 1,000+ members
- 390,390 communities > 100+ members
Looking at size and recent actvity:
- 1,000+ members, active within 7 days: 28,823
- 1,000+ members, active within 30days: 39,301
- 100+ members, active within 7 days: 63,874
- 100+ members, active within 30 days: 105,166
We further estimate:
- Total posts: on the order of 320 million.
- Total text data: on the order of 80 GB.
- Images: on about 30% of posts.
Q: What about metrics such as MUA?
A: We don't have access to those, and Google have never provided particularly credible numbers. When they were talking up the service, it was "300 million interactions", when they decided to kill it, they spoke of "millions" of users and average interactions lasting less than 5 seconds.
Third-party assessments by services such as the Pew Research Center have turned up a far smaller marketshare than sites such as Facebook, on the order of 10% of the latter's usage. TODO We'll see if we can find some references eventually.
Q: Who are you?
A: A motley crew. Mostly long-time G+ users.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Individual motives differ, though a common element is preserving a community we've found valuable. Some of us may see an opportunity to change the world, in a small way, hopefully for the better.
Q: What does "antefriguserat" mean?
A: It's Latin: Ante frigus erat "Before it was cool."
Q: Do you have any relationship, endorsement, funding, with Google?
We use their services, obviously, but this project is not associated or supported in any way.