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Google to kill off Currents in favour of a more integrated Workspace

The Google Plus replacement meets its end just two years after launching

Google has announced the closure of Currents, its replacement for Google Plus for G Suite customers, just two years after the platform's 2019 launch.

The process of shutting down Currents will begin in early 2023 and will make way for tighter integration of Spaces and Google Chat into Gmail.

It falls into Google's wider attempt to revamp Workspaces to have a more integrated look that mirrors much of what Microsoft has achieved with Outlook.

Before the wind down of Currents, Google will be bringing more features to Spaces to improve business communication and collaboration. This will include support for larger communities and opportunities for communication from leaders, content moderation tools, advanced search capabilities, and a number of as-yet unannounced changes.

Google also said it will be making additional investments in areas such as app development platform capabilities, and enterprise-grade security and compliance tools related to data protection, data loss prevention, and deeper integration with Google Vault.

Google Currents was introduced in 2019 as a replacement for Google Plus, its first and unsuccessful attempt at a Google-integrated social network first launched in 2011. Currents inherited parts of Google Plus but currently is just an enterprise communication platform, rather than a broader social network platform.

Currents users will be gently migrated over to Spaces - an evolved and rebranded version of Google Chat more akin to something like a Slack channel - and Google will start closing down Currents incrementally, starting with features used the least on the platform.

"The accelerating transition to hybrid work has significantly changed the way people collaborate, and Google Workspace customers are using Chat and Spaces to communicate about projects, share organisational updates, and build community," said Google.

"Upgrading Google Currents to Spaces removes a separate, siloed destination for users, and provides organisations with a modern, enterprise-grade experience that reflects how the world is working today. Spaces provide a central place for teams to engage in topic-based discussions, share knowledge and ideas, move projects forward, and build communities and team culture. "

"Killed By Google"

The features to be removed at indeterminate dates in Q1 2022 include post analytics, profile influence, and follower/following counts. Other features to be partially closed include tags, although this only affects the popular tags page and any active tags embedded in the 'all posts' stream, and community insights, which will be removed but data for community insights will still be available in admin reports.

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Google will be contacting the primary admins at organisations still using Currents in the coming weeks, sharing more details and a migration guide. IT admins can read more on the planned changes and the timeline in Google's dedicated support page for administrators.

The announcement somewhat subverts a commitment made by Google Cloud in 2021 that it wanted to ditch its reputation of killing off its products that are still used by business customers.

Google garnered the reputation over a number of years and even inspired one software engineer's "Killed By Google" project, which saw the creation of a satirical website and Twitter account that keeps track of all the products and services Google has shut down over the years.

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