The end is nigh for Google's failed social media experiment Google+.
Really, "failed" seems a bit harsh - Google+ did actually facilitate a range of well-informed, engaged communities, just not enough to make it viable for Google to maintain.
As you may recall, back in October, Google announced the coming G+ shutdown, giving it a deadline of August 2019, but they then updated that advice on the back of a privacy bug, expediting the closure to April. The final official day of Google+ has now been locked in - April 2nd, 2019. The day that Circles will come to an end.
As explained by Google:
"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."
If you have anything you want to keep from G+, you can download and save your content here. Note that photos and videos backed up to Google Photos will not be deleted.
"The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted."
In other words, the ghosts of Google+ may float around the web for a while after April 2nd, but that is what they'll be - ghosts. The platform will be gone, no more. Time to say goodbye.
Google also notes that Google+ community owners and moderators can download and save their data, with additional information available for download from early March 2019, "including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community".
"If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks, but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons."
Basically, the closure of Google+ is now being put into motion, and any and all G+ connected tools are slowly going to stop functioning. This is probably most relevant for your email signatures and contact options on your website - if you're a social media advisor, probably best to remove that G+ link soon, or you could risk looking like you're out of touch with the latest developments.
As Google+ winds down, Google has been putting more focus on adding in social-like features to search in order to provide more business connection options through its main offering. It's not the same, it's not a social network, and it is a bit sad to see all those impacted communities on the platform. But the time has come, and you need to prepare.
The countdown to the end of G+ is now reaching its final stage.