On October 8, 2018, Google announced that it is shutting down the consumer version of Google+ in 2019 because “it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption.” Google explained that the “consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
Several years back I started a community on Google+ to share news related to the Holocaust, the German state policy, enacted between 1941 and 1945, to exterminate the European Jews. The Holocaust resulted in the murder of six million European Jews, which amounted to around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. As a child of Holocaust survivors I want to share news about the Holocaust with the hope that people will remember or learn about what happened so it isn’t repeated.
Given the nature of the topic, I was looking for a safe place to share Holocaust-related information. After looking around, I ended up starting a Google+ community that was open to any Google+ member after first requesting an invitation. The community, which started with just me, now has over 300 members and a lot of useful information has been shared over the years.
I believe the community would have been bigger if I had set it up as a purely open community that anyone could join without first requesting membership. But I was concerned that neo-Nazis and others filled with hate would join. As moderator, I received many requests from neo-Nazis to join including a request from a person calling himself “Adolf Hitler” and using a photo of Hitler as his profile picture. I declined such requests and reported them to Google. I am not sure what Google did with my reports but the community was always left in peace to fulfill its purpose.
Google+ posts were beautifully presented with nice, large images when they were available. I have enjoyed the community very much and met some nice people online. It just worked.
I don’t see many alternatives. Facebook has well-publicized issues and Twitter is fine for sharing news but really isn’t a community.
I understand why Google is shutting down the service. For my part, I wasn’t looking to reach the masses. I just wanted a nice safe place to share information I think is important and worth sharing. I think Google should be proud of the service it offered. For my part, I am sorry to see Google+ go.