Update April 12th, 2023, 5PM ET: Google announced it will begin winding down Currents on July 5th, with data available for export until August 8th, 2023, when it will no longer be available.
Google has announced that it’ll shut down Currents, which was introduced in 2019 as a replacement for Google Plus for G Suite. In a blog post, the company says it’s “planning to wind down” Currents, and that it’ll push the people who were using it to Spaces, which is sort of like Google Chat’s version of a Slack channel or Discord room.
Google says that it’s making the change so users won’t have to work in a “separate, siloed destination” — instead, they’ll be using Chat and Spaces, which will soon be prominently integrated into Gmail. The company promises it’s going to make Spaces a more suitable replacement over the next year, saying it’ll “deliver new capabilities” like “support for larger communities and leadership communication, investments in advanced search, tools for content moderation, and more.”
Google’s going to start turning off rarely used features in Currents soon
While Google says its plan is to start winding down Currents in 2023, “rarely used” features will fade out starting in Q1 2022 (which we’re currently in). It lists the features that will be removed or degraded in a support document, and promises to keep Workspace administrators updated about future changes and the migration timeline.
Currents hasn’t gotten a lot of love from Google. I was only able to find three blog posts about it on Google’s Workspace Updates site — the one announcing it, one in 2020 announcing that it was widely available, and the one from Thursday announcing it was being shut down. It was included on Google’s main list of apps that come with Workspace at one point according to the WayBack Machine, but it seems like it was removed sometime in November 2021.
There’s still a link to a Currents page in the footer on the Google Workspace page, but clicking on it takes you to the page for Google Chat. That feels like an insult to injury, but as Ars Technica points out the ultimate insult is that this is basically the second time Google has shut down Google Plus. As the KilledByGoogle Twitter account vividly explained in 2020, Currents was created when Google shut down its failed social network for public use (after a major privacy flaw was discovered), but kind of needed to keep it around for enterprise users. Now Currents finds itself not long for this world and is being replaced by what seems like one of Google’s new favorite projects, Chats.
It’s also, by the way, the second time Google has shut down its product named Currents — before the current (ha) iteration, it was a magazine app. It’s a real double-whammy, even for a company that has a reputation for dumping projects.