When Google first announced that they planned to shut down Google+, many people thought little of it besides to make a joke at Google's expense. However, as the planned shutdown date gets closer, it's finally starting to dawn on people that they do use Google+ and its integrations on their website. Google has begun warning website owners that Google+ integrations will stop working in around two weeks.
Though Google+ was never as widely used as other social media platforms, many websites have Google+ services built into their website. With the platform coming to a close, business owners will need to have their sites updated to remove these integrations.
Google recently sent out an email to website owners stating, “Google has announced that Google+ for consumers will be sunset. As part of the sunset, all Google+ web integrations will stop serving on March 7, 2019. This has the potential to affect website layouts and/or functionality if no action is taken by website owners.”
For the most part, unless your website was created before 2018, there is a good chance that the site has at least one Google+ integration. The most common elements that will need to be changed are Google+ like and share buttons that are on many website pages. Though it won't affect the layout much if these buttons are still there, they won't function when people try to use them. Even if it doesn't modify the layout, having buttons for defunct platforms can make a site seem old and out of date. It would be like having links to an old MySpace page or Vine account.
Besides the like and share buttons, there are other common Google+ integrations that website owners will need to address before March 7th. For example, some businesses allowed customers to reach them through Google Hangouts. That feature won’t work after the March 7th, so having it on your website could result in missed opportunities if someone tries to use it.
Some Google+ integrations will greatly affect site layouts once they are shut off by Google. Businesses that were displaying the Google Badges they had earned will need to have those sections changed. Similarly, if you had interactive Google+ posts shown on a site, that section will soon stop working. Depending on how the site is set up, these changes could leave huge blank sections in the design or mess up the alignment of the other elements on the page.
The most important change that will need to be made involves using Google+ authorization for websites. As Google explained in their notes to website developers, “Beginning March 7, all OAuth token requests with scopes starting with "plus." (i.e. "plus.me", "plus.login", "plus.profile.emails.read", etc) will fail upon request, and may start to intermittently fail as early as February 15, 2019.”
Google+ Sign-in feature will also be shut down on March 7, 2019. This change doesn’t mean there are no ways to use Google for sign-ins. However, it won’t be though Google+. Developers can migrate their current Google+ Sign-In, to the more comprehensive Google Sign-in authentication system.
With only a couple of weeks left until the end of these integrations, it’s vital that business owners and webmasters take a look over their sites. Broken features and messed up layouts can damage the impression a site gives to visitors.
For more recent news about digital marketing, read this article about Google making it easier to buy Masthead Ads on YouTube.