This week, an email was sent to millions of Google+ users worldwide reminding everyone about the impending shutdown of Google+. For many educators, this left a bunch of questions about their status on the platform.
Is Your Google+ Account Going Away? … maybe!
On February 1, 2019, Google send this email to it's users.
You've received this email because you have a consumer (personal) Google+ account or you manage a Google+ page.
In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.
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. Note that photos and videos backed up in 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.
As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.
See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.
If you're a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more
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. Learn more
If you've used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more
If you're a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more
If you're a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.
From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.
What does this mean for me?
If you are using Google+ under your Gmail account then this has everything to do with you. Your account will soon be removed along with all of your content. However, if you are using your account through a school account then your account is safe. However, any community that you are apart of that is owned by a regular Gmail account will soon disappear.
Are there alternatives for Google Plus Communities?
One of the nice things about Google Plus was that you could create or easily search for professional learning communities. The downside, quite often, is that you would find a community that promoted thousands of users and after joining you would find that hardly anyone was actually active in the group. This always left me with a bad taste in my digital mouth.
One alternative to Google Plus Communities, of course, would be a Facebook Group, but with the current state of Facebook and it's privacy concerns, many teachers are staying away from creating new groups here.
What Should We Do To Be Proactive?
If you are looking to move your group away from Google+ but remain on the Google Platform, you can always create a Google Group. These private forms were around way before Google+ and I can only assume they will be around for a long time after Google+ closes it's doors this year.
As we often say in the classroom… it's about the conversations and not the tools. The closing of Google+ is just another example of why we should never rely fully on technology but always be concentrated on building relationships with each other as educators.
What will your group do? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.