Paul Kilfoil's World of Travel, Technology & Sport

Posted on  by Paul Kilfoil.
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The end of the road for Google Plus

In December 2018 Google announced that they were shutting down Google Plus, the second iteration of their attempt to gain a foothold in the social network market. You may recall Google's first social media effort, Google Buzz, a dismal failure when it was launched with much fanfare back in February 2010. Google Buzz didn't even last two years before disappearing without a trace in December 2011. Now Google+ has followed in its footsteps ... One can only wonder at the thousands of man-hours of work (and millions of Dollars) that must have been expended by the software giant in developing and maintaining these applications, only to throw it all away.

Amazing - Google has become the dominant force in the IT industry over the past several years, usurping such massive multinational corporations as IBM, Microsoft and Apple. But it has now had to endure two humiliating failures in the social networking field, while upstarts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram continue to enjoy massive worldwide support. That must be galling for Google's top executives.

Dare I suggest that all is not so rosy at Uncle G? Their search engine, the product that propelled Google to the top of the IT tree back in 1997, no longer enjoys the clear-cut superiority that it once enjoyed - there are several other search engines that are just as good as Google and deliver virtually the same results. And most crucially, Google's well-documented tracking of users' internet activity for their own purposes (mostly related to targeted advertising) is starting to hurt the software giant. Privacy in the online world has become a popular theme of late (Facebook have endured several backlashes from their community over a perceived lack of protection of users' information), and my prediction is that Google's aggressively invasive practices will increasingly come under the spotlight. Indeed, search engines such as Duck Duck Go and StartPage, which do not track or record anything about users, are starting to gain popular support.

Google is still number one, but time will tell if they can continue to hold onto that spot in the face of massive competition and mounting opposition to their relentlessly intrusive operation. The technology industry is fickle and being flavour of the month now is no guarantee that you won't be an outcast in a week's time ...

  © Paul Kilfoil, Cape Town, South Africa