Google+ shutdown: How to download and keep your data now

Today Google announced they'd close Google+ for consumers – that means you, reader. This closure is due to several factors, the most important of these being the huge privacy bug uncovered this week by the Wall Street Journal. Other reasons aren't nearly as important – but they're there nonetheless. Besides the bug, Google+ never really got off the ground.

Though it's been up and running for over a half-decade, Google+ never really got the consumer attention Google expected. In fact, according to Google, "[Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps," said Ben Smith, Google Fellow and Vice President of Engineering, in a Google statement today. "The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds."

READ MORE ON: The big Google+ privacy bug, revealed

Because of low engagement – and basic non-use by the public at large – Google's considered closing the doors before. Today's revelations seem to have pushed them over the edge. "The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+."

If you want to attempt to download any data associated with your Google+ account, you'll want to start at Google Takeout, logged in with your Google account. The entirety of your Google+ experience isn't quite included in this tool just yet. But that should change soon. For now you can select your Google+ +1s, Google Help Communities, Google Photos, Google+ Circles, Google+ Communities, Google+ Stream, Groups, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, and Profile.

• REMEMBER WHEN: Eric Schmidt said Google was "left behind on social"

Those aren't all specifically Google+, and won't necessarily all be going away. Those are all the different ways in which, through Google+, you might have interacted with friends and contacts. That's all the ways that are available right now, that is to say. Google suggests they'll have "additional information, including ways [Google+ users] can download and migrate their data." The process of shutting Google+ down for consumers will take place over the next 11 months, and should be complete in August of 2019.