The biggest clue that Google+ was long dead — Google's top executives stopped using it up to 3 years ago


Sundar PichaiGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai.Denis Balibouse/Reuters

  • Google announced it is shutting down Google+ for after The Wall Street Journal reported that it left users’ data exposed.
  • Some observers online were surprised to hear it still existed at all.
  • You need only look at how Google’s top executives have stopped using Google+ to see it was an unloved child.

The tech world was rocked by another privacy scandal on Monday — this time on an unexpected platform.

Google totally dominates many areas of our online lives, and Google+ was its attempt to break into social media. But it was seen as one of Google’s biggest failures and now, it has had an unhappy ending.

The Wall Street Journal revealed that the data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users had been left exposed for three years, from 2015 to March 2018. Not only that, but Google decided against informing the public about the vulnerability.

In the wake of the Journal’s story, Google announced that it was shutting Google+ down as a consumer proposition for good. Some online were surprised to hear it still existed at all:

Indeed, the writing has been on the wall for some time. You need only look at how Google’s top executives have stopped using Google+ to see it was an unloved child.

It was once the go-to platform for the latest pronouncements of Google’s senior managers, but some went silent on the social network around three years ago. Here’s when Google’s top team stopped using Google+:

Google cofounder Larry Page — last posted August 2015

Larry PageGoogle founder Larry Page.Seth Wenig/AP

Page does not appear to have posted on his Google+ page since August 21, 2015.

Page shared a post from Google cofounder Sergey Brin, announcing a project “to put computing inside a contact lens.” Page added: “Very excited about these health efforts also!”

Page does have a reputation as something of a recluse and does not have an official Facebook or Twitter page.

CEO Sundar Pichai — last posted March 2016

Sundar PichaiGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai at the 2018 I/O conference.Greg Sandoval/Business Insider

Pichai’s last post was an article from CNN about Google’s Deepmind challenge, which pitted an AI against a human at playing “Go.” Conversely, Pichai’s last tweet was just over a week ago.

In it, he announced that Google and Google staff were donating $1 million to support relief efforts in Indonesia following the earthquake.

Former CEO and executive chairman Eric Schmidt — last posted February 2017

Eric SchmidtEric SchmidtREUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Schmidt stepped down as chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet in December 2017, many months after he’d given up posting on Google+.

His swan-song post was an article about writer Jane Jacobs and urban planning. “My Friday long read: Jane Jacobs’s Radical Vision of Humanity, a fascinating read on importance of urban planning,” wrote Schmidt.

At time of writing, Schmidt’s last tweet was five days ago, and concerned a child’s picture book aimed at busting the myth that engineering is for boys.

Cofounder Sergey Brin — last posted September 2017

Sergey BrinEric Risberg/Associated Press

Of all the big Google cheeses, Brin seems to be the last to have abandoned Google+, his last post being just over a year ago. The post was about the Ragged Islands in the Bahamas taking the brunt of Storm Irma.

Like his cofounder Page, Brin is relatively quiet on social media.

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