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The Demise of Google+ and the Case for FOSS

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So much for Google+. As of April 2, 2019, the social media site’s personal accounts are no longer available for posting or comments, although for the time-being users can still access their accounts for downloading data. News of the shutdown proved surprisingly disturbing to me, reminding me of why I have used free and open source software exclusively for years.

Personally, I never warmed to Google+. Although I used it almost from the start, for me it was always a poor third to Facebook and Twitter among social sites. Although it often had better discussions, it wasn’t where most of my friends and acquaintances were — which, after all, is what social media is about. I would post a few times a week, and respond to comments, but I rarely checked other accounts, and never took part in any groups. Still, I would usually login for a few minutes before beginning my day’s work.

Yet somehow I couldn’t let the news go. In the last month of Google+’s existence I found myself counting down the days. On the morning it was shuttered, I automatically started to go the site, and when I remembered it was no longer active, I had a flash of anger I couldn’t explain. Before I knew it, I was having a flashback to the mid-1990s and the end of OS/2. Once again, a company was making decisions that affected my computer use without bothering to consult me.

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