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Bonus news: Google+ successor Currents will be replaced by Spaces.

Peggy K's Creator Weekly Newsletter
Google announced today that Google+ successor Currents will be shut down and the content moved to Chat Spaces in early 2023. While that may sound complicated, I think it will help consolidate Google’s communication platforms. Plus it will be available to folks with free personal Google accounts, so anyone will be able to use Spaces.
Read on for details!

Currents and Chat
Currents and Chat
Google announced today that Currents, the Google Workspace-only successor to Google+, will “wind down” in early 2023. Currents content and communites will be migrated to Spaces, part of Google Chat. Spaces will be getting new community-like features and collaboration tools before that happens.
The announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Currents has been little mentioned by Google since its launch in 2019 in the wake of the shutdown of Google+ for consumers. 
This will help consolidate Google’s communication platforms.
As noted in today’s announcement: 
Upgrading Google Currents to Spaces removes a separate, siloed destination for users, and provides organizations with a modern, enterprise-grade experience that reflects how the world is working today.
And Spaces, unlike Currents, is available to users with free personal Google accounts. 
So what will be happening?
Over the next few months a number of features will be removed from Currents, including analytics, mobile notifications and following and follower counts. But people can continue to use Currents until the migration to Spaces.
First, a little background, then a bit more details about what will happen over the next year or so. 
Currents launched as the successor to Google+ for G Suite
Currents was announced in April 2019, shortly after the shutdown of Google+ for consumer users. It would be a “streamlined platform” that “makes it easy for employees to have meaningful discussions across an organization and to view suggestions for useful and timely content.”
Importantly, after the removal of all Google+ content posted by consumer users, the remaining content was made private. Google+ for G Suite and its replacement Currents would be a platform designed for private internal communications within an organization. 
Google+ Communities owned by G Suite users could remain “public” and available to other G Suite users outside their organization. These Communities are not visible to anyone without a G Suite or Google Workspace account. 
As organizations migrated from Google+ to Currents, their users’ content and communities automatically transferred to the new platform.
The new platform includes “enterprise-grade features” such as “tags” and “streams” for organizing and following content. 
Currents fully replaced Google+ for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) customers in mid-2020
Currents is missing from Google's "Home for Work"
In the spring of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses and schools, Google quickly started launching new features on its communication platforms. They published a number of tutorials on how to use Google products to work or attend school from home.
In October of 2020, Google accounced G Suite was becoming Google Workspace. This was more than a name change. Google Workspace is meant to be a “home for work”, with integrated Gmail, Meet, Chat, Docs, Calendar and more. And most of those tools are also available to personal Google account users too. 
And now, there is a new focus on the hybrid workplace, where some employees are present in the office, and others work from home. 
Currents is notable in its absense. It has not been mentioned at all on Google’s blogs, outside of the notice that it was fully replacing Google+ for G Suite. Over the past two years, as Google has been developing and touting its online communication and collaboration tools, Currents didn’t even get a nod. 
And when all of the Google Workspace apps received a matching icon makeover, Currents was excluded. 
So, given all that, it’s not a surprise that Currents will be retired. 
Google Chat Rooms became Spaces
Google Chat, Google’s successor to Hangouts, has two ways to communicate. One is “chat”, which is just like it sounds. The other started out as “rooms”, which is a shared group space, with features like threaded conversations, and shared files and tasks.
In June 2021, Google announced Rooms would become Spaces, with deeper integration with Calendar, Drive and Tasks and promised new features. 
Some of those promised features are quite community-like, including discoverable spaces, in-line topic threading, message pinning, user roles, and moderation tools. 
A side note: If you are thinking that Spaces existed before 2021, you would be sort-of correct. There was an experimental group sharing and communication app called Google Spaces that launched at Google I/O in 2016. It was shut down in early 2017, with the promise they would “take what we learned with Spaces, and apply it to our existing products.” Perhaps coincidentally, shortly thereafter the new Chat and Meet were announced. In any case, Google does like reusing product names.
In September, Spaces launched as a “central hub for communication” for hybrid workplaces.
Spaces are for everyone
Unlike Currents, Google Chat and Spaces are available to personal Google accounts. If you try to open Currents while signed in to a personal Google account, it redirects to this information about Google Chat and Spaces. You can start using Spaces today! 
If you have been using Hangouts, you can continue your conversations in Chat. Named group Hangouts will be migrated to a Space. 
And anyone can start a new Space with anyone else using a Google account. Get started at chat.google.com or in your Gmail account or the official Gmail app on your mobile device.
Currents will migrate to Spaces in early 2023
That brings us to today’s announcement, that Currents will be shut down, and the content migrated to Spaces in “early 2023”. 
While users can continue to use Currents through 2022, some “rarely used” features will be removed over the next few months, including: 
  • Post analytics
  • Popular tags page
  • Tags in the “All posts” stream
  • Community insights (although this will continue to be available in Admin reports)
  • Profile influence
  • Mobile notifications
  • Following and follower counts
 It is likely that Spaces will not support those features. 
While there isn’t any detailed information about how the migration will work,Google has stated that organizations will be able to opt in to the migration to Spaces and select the communities you want to migrate.
There will be more information towards the end of 2022 about how the migration will proceed. 
If there are features that are important to you, let Google know! Google does read and act on user feedback. Click to learn how to send Feedback in Chat Spaces and Currents.
I am looking forward to see how this all pans out.
And see you on Saturday for the regular Weekly Update newsletter.
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Peggy K
Peggy K @peggyktc

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