The Internet has a pretty long memory but if content gets taken down, they will eventually disappear for good. Fortunately, the Internet Archive exists to serve as both a museum and a library for the Internet’s past, including the embarrassing ones. Soon, those will include even the publicly accessible Google+ posts that would have been forgotten forever if not for efforts of the loose collective that calls themselves “The Archive Team”.
To be clear, despite the name and collaboration, the Archive Team isn’t affiliated with the Internet Archives. The team does work with the organization in bringing content that’s on the verge of disappearing to the Archive’s Wayback Machine. Its newest project is to help future generations remember that, once upon a time, Google tried to make a social network and failed.
Being a social network, however, this archiving project might raise some privacy concerns. After all, despite having become a ghost town, there were still some posts on Google+ that may have been deemed not for the public’s eyes. No worries because only public posts are being archived. Basically, anything that would have been visible to the public anyway will be archived.
Still, if users don’t want even their public posts to be archived, they will have to explicitly opt out of the process. Or they could delete their content or Google+ profile to the same effect. If they don’t do anything, the default is to archive those public posts.
Even then, not everything is guaranteed to be preserved. Comments that were hidden behind a “Read more” link are inaccessible to the Archive Team’s crawler. Videos and images won’t be in their original high resolution but only in the quality they could be viewed in. Those limitations might seem inconsequential given the herculean task of archiving the social network. Whether it’s worth all that effort, however, is a different question altogether.