Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Google announced yesterday that Google+ will be transitioning from a standalone product to a core service for Google Apps. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing; after all, it’s a decent enough social platform that does a good (although kludgy and unintuitive) job of connecting people and doesn’t carry a lot of the sneakier privacy baggage that you get with some other social networking platforms (cough Facebook cough).
It seems like an odd move, though. Google+ isn’t what you’d call wildly popular – they trumpet the figure of 111 million users, which seems impressive until you consider that Facebook has somewhere north of 1.4 billion active users. In fact, it’s a product that’s seemingly been on the bubble for a while; over the last few years it’s been rumored to be scrapped or repurposed several times, and there’s ample (albeit anecdotal) evidence that adoption isn’t high inside Google/Alphabet itself.
Still, if it becomes a core service then there’s no real harm, as your Google Apps admin can enable or disable any service for your domain, so you won’t necessarily have to use it. It’s something for admins to exercise vigilance over, though – by the fall their domain users will suddenly find themselves as Google+ users, and will doubtless be asking themselves why they should bother with the thing when Facebook is ubiquitous, simpler and better-supported…