Google has advised G Suite administrators that its replacement for Google+, “Currents”, will debut on July 6th.
Google+ started life as Google’s attempt to start a social network. It flopped in that role and mutated into the collaboration component of G Suite, Google’s web-based alternative to Microsoft Office.
In April 2019 Google announced Currents would replace Google+ and said the new tool “makes it easy to have meaningful discussions by enabling leaders and employees to exchange ideas across the organization and gather valuable feedback and input from others — without flooding inboxes.” Instead users will get custom company streams, content discovery and routing via tagging.
The email sent to G Suite administrators offers the following advice:
“After Currents becomes generally available on July 6, 2020, your users and all of your organization’s existing Google+ content will be automatically transitioned to Currents. It may take up to 5 days for Currents to rollout to your organization. There will not be any downtime for users during this transition. Additionally, the new Currents mobile app will replace the Google+ iOS and Android mobile apps, which will no longer be supported. After July 6, 2020, it will not be possible to opt out of Currents or revert back to Google+.”
Links to content at plus.google.com will continue to work, but redirects will send users to currents.google.com. Users will need to get their hands on the new Currents apps for iOS and Android.
Google’s not indicated how many G Suite users have dipped their toes in Currents since the April 2019 debut of its beta, making it hard to assess if the service’s advent will be received as a welcome upgrade to users’ collaboration arsenal or something that needs to be learned in a hurry during a difficult time.
The Chocolate Factory will almost certainly hope for the former, as it’s seen the likes of Microsoft Teams, Webex and Zoom become exemplars of online collaboration during the work-from-home boom sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Google launched its own video collaboration tools - the prosaically-named “Meet” – but hasn’t detailed adoption.
A last piece of Google history to consider: the company has form denigrating the inbox, having launched a much-hyped “Wave” collaboration environment in 2009 and watched as Gmail use continued to boom. ®