Google+ gets the axe on April 2, but some of your old posts may be sticking around—whether you want them to or not. In an effort to preserve internet content, the Internet Archives and ArchiveTeam create digital backups of websites and other internet content that would otherwise be lost to time, and their next project is the preservation of Google+.
A recent Reddit post details both groups’ plans to save publicly posted material on Google+, as well as details on how volunteers can help.
For some this may be good news — sure, the general consensus is that Google+’s demise is overdue, but a small, dedicated user base has persisted until the bitter end. For them, the archival work ensures that the legacy of their favourite social network will live on.
For others, news that Google+ content will be sticking around may not be as welcome, especially if you assumed old Google+ posts you don’t want to be remembered would quietly disappear when the service is shuttered next month.
While the team working to preserve Google+’s content can’t save everything—private or previously deleted posts can’t be accessed, posts with over 500 comments will only be preserved in truncated form, and publicly shared images will be saved at lower resolutions—the process of archiving public Google+ posts has already begun, so you’ll need to act quickly.
Here’s how to make sure any public Google+ posts don’t get archived, and how to get rid of them if they are.
How to prevent Google+ posts from being archived
The best way to ensure your public Google+ content is gone entirely is to delete your account.
Sign into the Google Account linked to the Google+ profile you want to delete
Open Google+ (you can also do this with the apps widget or by clicking your Google profile image then clicking “Google+ Profile” while on any Google web app or page such as Google Drive, YouTube, etc.)
From the Google+ page, click Settings from the menu on the left
Scroll down to the very bottom and click “Delete Google+ Profile”
You’ll be asked to input your Google account password
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the profile deletion
Deleting your Google+ profile will not delete your Google account, YouTube account/channels, or affect any other Google services. It will only remove your Google+ account.
That said, if you would rather not delete your Google+ account entirely, you can instead try to delete any public posts/information before The Internet Archives and ArchiveTeam get to it.
To delete a post, you must be signed into your Google+ account, then on the post(s) you wish to delete, click the three stacked dots “more” icon and click “Delete.” You can make changes to your profile information by clicking “Edit Profile” from your profile page.
Fair warning: It’s not guaranteed that either of the above steps will prevent your public posts from being archived, since it’s possible the archival team’s algorithms may have gotten to them before you did, and your profile will be archived if you don’t delete it entirely. If that’s the case, you can still get those removed:
Search for your Google+ profile’s URL using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to see if any of your old posts are available. You can also do the same for a specific post’s URL as well.
If anything you wish to be removed has made its way onto the Internet Archive’s database, you can use the page removal request form to request the content be taken down.