There’s no escaping it, cybersecurity has become the hottest topic in the virtual world. Like an arms race, no matter how secure tech companies get and no matter how prepared they are, it seems that the leaking of data and privacy is an inevitable fate a plethora of platforms eventually face. Two of the largest internet moguls, Facebook and now Google, have been victims of data leakages. Facebook, reporting up to 50 million users affected by their data leak, is no longer the only major tech company that has become a victim of these data issues. Google reported up to 500,000 accounts from their Google+ platform had been affected by this very same API that was used to access the Facebook data. Due to this breach, Google+ is shutting down its social platform for good.
For those unaware, a company called GSR (Global Science Research) had developed a Facebook app which collected the data of the persons who gave permission to and utilized the app, which is completely normal. The abnormal part, however, is that these apps were secretly collecting the private data of every single person on their friend list. This data was then accessed by Cambridge Analytica – a data mining company to use without consent and was applied towards political purposes.
Similarly to Facebook, Google+ faced a massive security issue when the information of its users was readily accessible to the developers. The information leaked included: name, email address, occupation, gender, and age. The most concerning issue regarding this security breach was the fact that those with private accounts had their information leaked as well. Google issued a statement to the public saying third-party developers were not aware of the bug, nor was any of the information mishandled in any way.
What does this mean for Google+ users?
With the information that Google had become affected by this leak, the company has officially announced that they will be shutting down their social platform, Google+ in August 2019. The social platform is not shutting down completely, rather they’re eliminating the consumer version; the business version will still exist, upping their security to ensure a “secure corporate social network”. When considering that Google+ did not live up to its potential, this news is really not all that surprising. Google had put out a statement highlighting that 90 percent of all Google+ user sessions lasted less than 5 seconds. Yikes.
What happens to local businesses?
To be quite frank, it makes the life of social media managers a little bit easier. They can now dismiss the monitoring and posting on Google+ and put their energy into platforms that are actually performing well in relevancy to social strategies. In regards to the correlation between Google+ and SEO, there may be some ramifications of the demise of Google+. Content on Google+ indexed immediately, thus, it helped boost search rankings a lot faster. Another benefit of Google+ is its ability to integrate heavily with other useful Google tools such as Google Places (Which has now become ‘Google My Business’) which is a major key to the online presence of businesses. What this means is that businesses are going to have to transition off of Google+ and go straight to Google My Business. The posts that were once created to post on Google+ are going to have to be added to your Google My Business profile. Not so bad of a tradeoff.
What’s going to happen your existing account?
Well, by default, Google will be removing all accounts come August 2019, but that doesn’t mean to sit around and wait. We suggest that you go ahead and download/save everything that you have already posted to your account. There’s no point of throwing out all the hard work that you put into creating content. You will still be able to utilize the account over the next few months, so there is no need to shut it down or seize use of it.
For those utilizing Google+ for business, there is no need to remove the links or take it out of your online strategies. Google+ still holds merit throughout it’s last few months. Google users are still able to create a new Google+ account as well, to reap the benefits of the platform before it shuts down. Closer to the month it is expected to shut down, it is imperative you then remove it from your site and any other place you have publically displayed your Google+ profile and/or link. This will ensure you do not lead users to a dead end link. Google has also stated that the bug that had caused the data leak has been resolved, so information within the platform is now securely stored. Users can continue to regularly utilize Google+ for the little time it has left.
Although the short-lived life of Google+ has come to an end, it does not mean that we can no longer harness the power of google listings. Stay up to date with your Google My Business posts, look out for local search communities on Facebook for information and make sure to stay up to date with trends.
Want to learn more about how you can optimize Google+ in the next few months? Or perhaps, how to change up your marketing strategies once it shuts down? Contact our team for all the answers and help you need to be prepared