The Expedited Sunsetting of Google Plus: Explanations, Implications, and Exports

The expedited move to shut down Google+ and its API in the wake of a second security issue puts a bit of a clock on auditors, investigators, and litigators looking to preserve ESI from the social media platform that could be relevant to future litigation.

About the Shut-Down of Google+

Extract from David Thacker, VP of Product Management for G Suite

In October, we announced that we’d be sunsetting the consumer version of Google+ and its APIs because of the significant challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations, as well as the platform’s low usage.

We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019.

While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.

About the Legal Hold Implications of the Shut Down

Extract from an article by Frank Ready of ALM Media

Google’s version of spring cleaning apparently involves wiping away the entirety of its social media platform. The company’s Google Plus will officially be no more come April in the wake of yet another data leak that impacted 52.5 million users early last month.

The move puts a bit of a clock on attorneys and e-discovery professionals looking to salvage data from the platform that could be relevant to future litigation. Indeed, the impending closure illustrates just exactly how tricky taking responsibility for communications made on a third-party platform can be. And as a new generation of young, social media savvy employees continues to move up the ranks, companies and their lawyers may find themselves having to devote more time and resources to successfully identifying and locating every pertinent scrap of data before the ground shrinks beneath their feet.

Read the complete article at Google Plus Demise Could Put Data on Legal Hold in Jeopardy

About Exporting Google+ Data Before Shut Down

Extract from an article by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal

Step 1: Google Takeout

Users can download any data from their Google account with a service called Google Takeout.

Visit Google Takeout by navigating to and logging in with your Google account.

Step 2: Select Data to Export

Select datasets to export by using the toggle buttons on the right-hand side.

The datasets from Google+ that can be exported include:

  • +1s
  • Google+ Circles
  • Google+ Communities
  • Google+ Stream
  • Hangouts
  • Hangouts on Air
  • Profile

Narrow down the datasets even further by using the drop-down menus next to the toggle buttons.

Once the data sets have been selected, click on the “Next” button at the bottom.

Step 3: Customize the Archive Format

The third and final step involves choosing the file type for the archive and the delivery method.

Data can either be sent via email and downloaded as an attachment or saved to cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Click “Create Archive” and you’re done.