YouTube and Gmail and other Google internet properties couldn't make it a star, but maybe they helped the social networking site survive this long. On June 28, Google+ turned five.
Google launched the Google+ back in 2011, after several similar ventures fell flat and as Facebook ran away with the social network market.
Google+ sought to make connecting with people and sharing information less "sloppy," "scary" and "insensitive" when it was launched five years ago. A lot of people don't like sharing so often in a way that feels so impersonal, so Google sought to answer the question: what do people actually do?
"From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks," Google said back then. "So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software. Just make a circle, add your people, and share what's new — just like any other day."
Google might have gotten all of those things right and delivered a social networking experience that people truly appreciated. However, it wasn't enough to ever pose a serious threat to Facebook and Twitter, even now and especially now.
Google took another crack at trying to help Google+ make a dent in the market by launching a massive overhaul of the social network back in November 2015.
The biggest focus on the refresh of Google+ was streamlining profiles, which offered a simplified presentation of posts and collections and communities.
That streamlining effort also saw a lot of the social network feature's left behind or reserved for the Android app, though users can still switch back to Google+ Classic to assess the items and elements that were cut. Possibly the most significant cut to the platform was the untethering of Hangouts, which was given its own legs for a standalone app.
Despite having used various lures to get users hooked on Google+, a recent addition to the team may deliver the innovation needed to gain a larger foothold in the market.
In March, Google hired 4chan founder Chris Poole to breath new life into the platform. It's still unclear exactly what Poole's is doing for the Google+ unit, but his hiring is a clear sign that Google is far from giving up on the platform — it has come this far and a lot of people use it, just not nearly as many people as the other social networks.
— GooglePlus (@GooglePlus) June 27, 2016