Google+ (pronounced Google Plus and often written as "G+") was a social networking service created and operated by Google. It was in beta (and invitation-only) for much of July, 2011, but as of 2011-07-31 the home page and sign-in page showed no signs of any restriction. General public release was on or about July 31 with open access to all afterwards.
The service shut down on April 1, 2019. Much of the user content has been saved to the Internet Archive, though indications are that the sampling was quite sparse.
Features and Technology
Basic features of Google+ included:
- Circles in which users may organize others.
- User Profile page
- +1 Button
At its heartm the service resembled a blogging or microblogging platform with a very limited (and chronically buggy) Markdown format, in which posts may appear in other users' Streams.
Google+ has been the source of a number of controversies over its existence, including:
- "Real Names" policy, aka "Nymwars".
- Gender disclosure.
- Government censorship, particularly in the People's Republic of China.
- YouTube Comments / G+ integration.
- "Two Factor Authentication" and phone-number registration.
- /exodus: information kiosk for those who have left, or are planning to leave, G+ (voluntarily or otherwise)
- /management: the people who make decisions about G+ /policy
- /naming: the infamous "common name" policy, and the controversy regarding it
- /suspensions: list of users whose accounts have been suspended due to ostensible naming policy violations
- /users: small experimental database for tracking G+ users (including management)
- 2014/06/09 [L..T] Thanks for nothing, jerkface "In case you missed it, Google CEO Sergey Brin publicly admitted last week that Google+ was "a mistake" for him – one month after the man he hired to run the social network, Vic Gundotra, left the company without explanation."
- 2011/07/27 [L..T] Why it Matters: Google+ and Diversity Just a few days before Google+'s doors officially open on July 31, Google's latest communications from Vic (via Robert) and Bradley on the raft of account suspensions and “common names” policy seem unlikely to put the “identity crisis” to rest. It's certainly a positive sign that they're engaging, and process changes like giving people with names Google doesn't like a week to change their account name before suspending them are certainly improvements. That said, the impression they're giving is that they're going to try to hold the line with the current policy even knowing that it targets transgender people, human rights activists, people at risk for stalking and harrassment domestic violence survivors, HIV/AIDS victims and caregivers, people with names that sound weird to Americans (or for that matter people in Hong Kong who would rather go by their English names)..."
- 2011/07/26 [L..T] Fraudsters Already Exploiting Google+ It was inevitable. With the creation of Google+, a new social network already boasting over 20 million users, the scammers were sure to follow. Here's a note a probable fraudster sent to reader Geoff through his Google+ profile, informing him that someone died in Africa and he needs to be contacted about a "business transaction" of "magnitude."
- 2011/07/03 [L..T] Google made my son cry