What does the termination of Google Plus mean for real estate agents? For those of us who swore by it, the announcement comes as a major disappointment. Here’s why.

Have you heard the news? Google Plus is being terminated as of August 2019. Yes, you are reading this correctly, Google Plus will be a social network no more. Why, you might be asking yourself?

Google had been reviewing the security and privacy implications of its developer access programs over the past year, according to Ben Smith, Alphabet’s VP of engineering. The conclusion from this exercise was that users wanted detailed control over who was reading their personal data from Gmail and SMS accounts.

Hearing these findings caused Google to look at its privacy policy more closely. What it discovered was a bug in Google Plus that gave some apps access to more user information than they wanted.

Essentially, what was happening was having a list of John Doe’s friends would also grant access to other important information such as the user’s email address, age and other demographic data that was supposed to be private. Not good.

This bug was patched back in March, and there was no actual abuse found. Apparently the bug was enough for Google to realize there were challenges to having a social network that included deep-rooted access to users data.

What does the Google Plus departure mean for real estate agents?

So what does the termination mean for real estate agents? For those who never utilized the site probably not much. For those who did, however, the announcement comes as a major disappointment.

Personally, Google Plus was one of my favorite social networks from a business perspective. It was much different than Facebook because you didn’t go there to hear the personal noise going on in your life. Most real estate agents were there for one thing: to learn and grow their business from the perspective of others in the industry.

I can personally say that on no other social media platform did I make more meaningful connections. Through Google Plus, I made more friendships with other real estate agents around the country. It was a major driving force in making my Maximum Real Estate Exposure site, one of the most recognized real estate blogs in the country.

In fact, when Google Plus introduced communities, I was one of the first to create one. It ended up being one of the largest and most interactive real estate communities on the platform.

Through Google Plus the relationship-building was easy. Seeing others who shared their passion for blogging was awesome. We would all regularly and freely share one another’s content through the platform.

It was more than that though. The relationships transferred to other major social media sites as well.

If I was on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or somewhere else my Google Plus, friends would freely share my content. This was what social media was supposed to be about as a real estate agent — being social.

The average real estate agent blasts their real estate listings on social media and nothing more. That’s not relationship-building. It’s annoying advertising that does little to grow your business.

Google Plus was a place to learn grow and nurture these relationships. I summarized why real estate agents should use Google Plus in an article for Inman.

Here’s what agents are saying

I know I’m not alone in my feelings for the platform. Here are some quotes from other real estate agents I had the pleasure of meeting through Google Plus:

Lynn Pineda | Credit: LinkedIn

Google+ has contributed significantly to my success in Real Estate. Most importantly, the network of other agents that I came to know so well, will be greatly missed. This network of Real Estate professionals contributed to my own ever growing knowledge that I sought out to make me a better Real Estate agent.

When I’m a better Real Estate agent, that ultimately transfers to the end goal of selling homes, while helping countless home sellers and home buyers. That network of agents, now friends, is what made Google+ so great. Sure, we connect on other social media platforms too, but Google+ was the beginning, your first…you always remember your “firsts” the most and are most grateful for them. — Lynn Pineda, eXp Realty Coral Springs, Florida

Kyle Hiscock | Credit: LinkedIn

It’ll be sad to see google plus shut down for a handful of reasons. The biggest reason is that google plus was a great place to find other professionals who have similar goals in mind. I first met Bill, and several other friends and bloggers on Google Plus. Without it, I would’ve never met them and learned so much about content marketing, SEO, and just social media in general. — RE/MAX Realty Group agent, Kyle Hiscock, Rochester, New York

Kevin Vitali | Credit: LinkedIn

Google+ has been a major site for promoting real estate content for me. It differs from the other social sites because you can go into greater depth on a subject when posting and have your content read. It is a great platform to promote your own site as well as expound on other posts and give your opinion. Google+ was so much different than Facebook which limits what you can do and say. — Exit Group One Real Estate agent, Kevin Vitali in Massachusetts

As you can see there are some very strong opinions from real estate agents who used Google Plus. I share all of their sentiments. Google Plus gave us all a great place to share our knowledge. We looked at each other as friends and not competitors.

Additionally, Google Plus had some SEO benefits for those who were logged into Google through Gmail or other accounts. Dave Amerland, an SEO specialist, summarized the Google Plus benefits for real estate agents succinctly in the article at Massachusetts Real Estate News.

Instant indexing of articles and putting your content in front of other in search while logged in were two huge advantages for a real estate agent.

In conclusion, I am not sure what I will replace Google Plus at this point. I would love to be able to find a similar social site to be able to collaborate with other like-minded real estate agents who love to blog and grow their social media and online presence.

At the present time, there doesn’t seem to be such an animal. I will certainly be on the look out for one. There are other great real estate groups on other social platforms like the Real Estate Professionals group on LinkedIn and the Real Estate Bloggers Group on Facebook, which agents can join. Although these are great places for agents to share content and learn, they don’t have the interaction levels of Google Plus.

Google Plus was different. It was special. My eyes are wide open. The saying “all good things must come to an end” certainly is fitting of Google Plus. You will be missed.

Bill Gassett is a top agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty who serves many towns across the state of Massachusetts. Check out his blog

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