Weird and disturbing changes at Google.

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I just got this notification from Google that my account with Google Plus (and most likely yours, too) is being shut down in April.  (I do not think this affects Gmail accounts.).

This will affect Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) at least as far as ability to comment there (comments default to your Google+ account name), and WordPress, insofar as our posts may no longer be shared on Google+ and the G+ button will no longer work.

This development, coupled with Google’s new algorithms (that I am pretty sure now are the primary factor responsible for the drastic drop in blog hits I’ve experienced of late) makes me think that Google is turning its sights more onto web developers and large corporate accounts and away from consumers, leaving writers, hobby bloggers, and owners of small business and art sites scrambling for now.

Google and WordPress appear to have formed some sort of partnership that excludes and/or alienates most of its consumer base and hobby bloggers and writers.   The sudden big push for bloggers to switch to Gutenberg (an extremely writer-unfriendly editing platform that’s better suited to web developers and page designers) seems to fit right in with Google/WP’s goal of squeezing us small time bloggers out.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but there are just too many coincidences here to think it’s some benign change that won’t significantly affect our blogging life.  We have been marginalized.   Why?  Follow the money.   We aren’t raking in the big bucks.

Here is the notification I got:

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.

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