Google launched its fourth attempt at a social network, Google+, on June 28, 2011 on an invite-only basis. The search giant’s answer to Facebook gained loads of traction early on, amassing more than 20 million users in just three weeks but over time, it became clear that Google+ would fall well short of becoming the next big thing.
Trying to pinpoint exactly where Google+ went wrong is difficult. Some point to a clumsy user-interface in which segregating people into Circles felt unnatural. Google’s insistence on injecting Google+ into its other properties including YouTube and Gmail was a bit overbearing and keeping the platform closed to third parties probably didn’t help much, either.
In 2014, Google+ creator Vic Gundotra departed Google after nearly eight years on the job but by that point, there was really no saving the ship. Nevertheless, Google continued to tweak its social network with new features that culminated in a late 2015 redesign that focused on “interests.”
Heck, even back in 2011, the social media landscape was pretty well established. Myspace was a distant memory and within just a couple of years, the social media pecking order had largely been established.
Any bets on whether or not we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Google+ in another five years?
Mockup courtesy TechCrunch