It’s been just over two years since the internet marketers and bloggers lost their marbles over Twitter dropping there share counter API. Since then the wounds have healed and workarounds have been put in place and we’ve all gotten on with our merry lives.
Until now, Google+ has decided to join the party by removing it’s +1 counter. A couple of years late and who cares right? It’s only Goolge+, does anyone still use the failed and supposed Facebook Killer?
Should we care?
If you had no interest in Google+ you can simply ignore this post but if you actually invested time and effort into syndicating your content on the platform you should be rightfully annoyed that proof of your efforts has now been removed from the face of the internet.
Google+ may be down and out for many, but it can still be a valuable traffic driver for sites since even on its worst days it draws more traffic than the majority of the sites on the internet. If you can get a piece of the action why wouldn’t you?
Who could be affected by the change?
Bloggers of course
If you’re a blogger, your Google +1 button won’t show visitors how many times your posts have been shared. This can lead to fewer shares and less interaction since you now only have Facebook, Pinterest and Linkedin as social proof.
This could be an issue for Google’s own Blogger site, which includes Google+ sharing buttons by default.
Impact on native advertising
If you’re getting paid big bucks for helping promote brands on social media, you’ll lose a primary way of showing advertisers how popular you are with the online masses – social proof. That could put a dent in your bank account, especially if Google+ has been a strong network for you.
Why Would Google+ Do This?
Unlike Twitter, which generated all sorts of theories and even conspiracy theories with their move, the range of speculation on this part of our query was pretty consistent to three points:
Possibility 1: It really is about speed improvement
Google+ really does just want to speed up the load time for the +1 button and sharing box. Why they suddenly deemed this important is not very clear. Although it may have something to do with the primary source of their user growth, as mentioned in number three below.
Possibility 2: Competing with bigger counts
Google+’s share counts rarely look that impressive next to Facebook, and often get lapped as well by Twitter, Pinterest, and other networks. Maybe Google doesn’t want to invite (even more) unfavourable comparisons, especially as growing the network to market domination is no longer their White Whale.
Possibility 3: Disassemble
Google+ is being slowly but surely shut down by their parent company. For all their proclamations that they continue to support the network, they just want to ease users off of it gently before sunsetting it.
This was mostly suggested as unlikely, especially since the network continues to show active signs of development and support.
And Google can likely find justifications to keep it even if it makes no money, such as using it as a testing ground for new features. Google Spaces, for example, which shut down but quasi-reincarnated its features into Enterprise Hangouts.
At any rate, Google has nothing better yet to replace Google+ with so they might keep it until they do. This is the same thing that happened with Orkut, which was mostly used in Brazil and India until Google+ outgrew it.
The negatives due to the loss of +1’s
Google+ dropping its share counter in the hope of getting more shares doesn’t make much sense now but has Google+ made sense since it started? In my opinion, Not really so I won’t read into it too much. Could it be the beginning of the end? Could it be a data point they want to consolidate into other tools like Google Analytics? Who knows?
One thing for sure, 3rd party API’s won’t sit around and wait for Google to make up their minds and im confident share counter solutions are on their way very soon.
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