Google+ Transition Guide

In the coming months, Google+ will become a G Suite core service. This means that after this launch, Google+ will be covered under existing G Suite agreements for most customers, and will offer the same technical support and service level commitments as all core services.

While this improves the service Google+ provides to G Suite customers, we are notifying you of this change in advance of the launch so that you can (1) understand the implications of this pending change, and (2) have ample time to prepare your user community ahead of public launch. Beginning July 14, 2016, a transition period will run for 60 days or more in order for you to complete the necessary preparations outlined in this guide.

Call to Action: Please review this document and create your rollout plan. The earlier you start, the better prepared you’ll be for a smooth transition to Google+ as a core service.

Note: G Suite for Education customers using Google+ will also receive product updates and therefore may wish to prepare for the product transition. However, Google+ will not be treated as a core service in G Suite for Education editions of G Suite.

Before you begin

Why a transition is needed

To provide a service that is consistent with the protections of our G Suite agreement , the following actions or feature changes will affect your domain’s current use of Google+:

  • All web users on a computer will be automatically upgraded to the latest version of Google+, and will not have the option to switch back to the "classic" version.
    NOTE: mobile web users already use the latest version of Google+, so their experience will not be affected by this transition.
  • For native mobile app users, Google+ versions dating from prior to the Google+ core service launch will no longer be fully supported. Native mobile apps users should upgrade to the latest version of Google+.
  • In order to make Google+ simpler and faster to use, we have removed some lightly-used functionality and made some changes to select workflows. See Functional changes for more information.

To ensure that these changes don't cause any disruptions to your organization's use of Google+, we are providing this guide so that you can take the necessary steps ahead of time and have a smooth transition to Google+ as a core service. 

Functional changes

In order to make Google+ simpler and faster to use, we have removed some lightly-used functionality and made some changes to select workflows.

We want to highlight the following functionality currently present in classic Google+ that will not be available once Google+ becomes a core service:

  • Creating Events (users will still be able to view and delete existing events using the latest Android app).
  • Initiating Hangouts chats from Google+ (users will still be able to use Hangouts through the Hangouts app, on Gmail, or at
  • Google Photos is no longer required for you to enable Google+.  If Google Photos is disabled, your users can only post photos or videos from a local drive or device. 
  • Using or creating Hangouts on Air (HOA) from Google+.
    Note: Users will still be able to create new live streaming sessions using YouTube Live. Users will also still be able to view and delete existing HOA data. See Transition Hangouts on Air (HoA) events for more information.

Most of these changes are already present in the new Google+, which is why transitioning users to the new Google+ now will help minimize any impact on the user experience when the Google+ core service launches.

Transition your users now

Create a transition plan

Use this sample transition plan to switch people in your organization to the new Google+. This plan should be customized to the needs of your organization.

Sample transition plan

The following suggested transition plan is one approach administrators can use to help prepare an organization for the transition.  Adapt this plan to fit your organization's needs and processes.

Task Description


Identify "Google Guides" Transition a subset of users in your organization to the latest Google+ versions. These users will serve as Google Guides for others.
Train your users Ask people in your organization to use the available transition resources.
Document Google+ workflows Ask the Google Guides to document Google+ workflows in your organization that support existing social use cases.
Ask users to switch

Message the Google+ users in your organization to begin transitioning to the latest Google+ versions (on both web and native mobile apps). Direct them to the public resources and organization-specific content prepared by your Google Guides.

Use the sample communication text to get started.

Follow-up Send reminders and check  frequently (bi-weekly is recommended) to ensure users have made the switch and understand the new Google+.

Prepare your users

Web users on a computer who are most familiar with classic Google+ may benefit from a review of the following educational resources for new Google+, which will help prepare them for the Google+ core service interface.

Keep checking this space regularly for additional content as it becomes available. 

Transition steps

Web interface

If you have Google+ enabled as a service and have computer users in your organization, they are currently using one of the following web interfaces:

  • New Google+: the new web version of Google+, launched last November. With the new Google+, content that users access most frequently has been placed front and center, namely their Home Stream, Communities and Collections.
  • Classic Google+: the web version of Google+ available before the launch of new Google+.

At present, users on a computer can opt in to the new Google+, with the ability to revert to classic Google+ in order to access functionality not carried forward to the new user interface. Once Google+ becomes a core service, your users will not be able to revert to classic Google+.

New Google+ is the web user experience for the upcoming launch of Google+ as a core service. As such, users should transition to the new Google+ now, so that they can get acquainted with the new web interface and have minimal impact on their experience once Google+ core service launches.

NOTE: Mobile web users already use the latest version of Google+, so their experience will not be affected by the transition.

NOTE: In the coming weeks, during the transition period, all web users in your domain will be switched to new Google+. This will be done in a non-permanent fashion during this period - i.e. users will be able to switch back to classic Google+ if they wish. This will be done automatically as a way to have users try the new web interface, and possibly continue using it from that point forward. We will notify you of the switch via the G Suite Update blog and Google Cloud Connect Launch Announcements area. 

Native mobile apps

Older native mobile app versions of Google+ will no longer be fully supported once Google+ becomes a core service. This means that users can continue to use these versions, but some Google+ functions such as Events and photos may not work properly or in the same way, and limited support will be available for these versions.

To help users access all of the Google+ core service features, they should upgrade existing Google+ mobile apps as soon as possible after launch. Although new versions will not be available prior to launch, it is important to start an inventory of the current installed base of Google+ mobile apps in your domain, so that when the new app is available you can manage the upgrade process more efficiently.

Announce the change

Customize the following sample message to let users know about the coming change, and encourage them to make the switch.

Sample message

Good news: Google+ is getting a few upgrades in the coming months.

To prepare for the changes, we request that you upgrade to the latest version of Google+ and try it out now. This is a pretty simple process:

  • If you’re using Google+ on your computer, look for the “Try the new Google+” link on the bottom left corner of your screen. Click on it, and that’s it! If you instead see the “Back to classic G+” link, then you’re already on the latest version of Google+ - great job! You don’t need to do anything else. You can however help me train others in the company - email me if you’re interested in becoming a “Google Guide” :-)
  • If you're using the Google+ mobile app, simply upgrade to the latest version of the app from your respective Play Store / App Store.

Google has also provided some resources to help everyone with the transition:

  • Help Center: user help forum with articles on getting started with the new Google+.

  • Learning Center: tutorials and tips to get the most out of the new Google+.

Please email me if you have any questions.

<Your G Suite Admin>

Get support

See how to contact G Suite support for questions or clarifications.

We look forward to supporting you throughout this transition. 

Transition Hangouts on Air (HoA) events to YouTube Live

On September 12, 2016, Hangouts on Air will move from Google+ to YouTube Live. New Hangouts on Air will need to be scheduled using YouTube Live. Events cannot be scheduled on Google+ after September 12 and existing events scheduled to happen after September 12 will need to be moved to YouTube Live.

Differences between events scheduled in Google+ and YouTube Live

HOA Events scheduled from YouTube Live will behave largely the same as they did when scheduled from Google+, but there are a few differences:
  1. HOA Events will not be automatically added to Google+.
  2. The Q&A, Showcase, and Applause apps will no longer be available (see Q&A alternatives).
  3. There are more privacy options available. When scheduling through YouTube Live, there are three privacy options: Public, Unlisted, and Private, whereas only Unlisted was offered when scheduling through Google+.

Enable YouTube Live broadcasts for your domain

If a domain has previously enabled HOA broadcasts through Google+, then no additional changes are needed to do HOA broadcasts through YouTube Live.

If your domain didn’t previously enable HOA broadcasts through Google+ or if you would like to disable HOA broadcasts going forward, see Enable or disable Hangouts on Air.

Limit Access to a Hangouts On Air Broadcast

Access restrictions can be placed on an HOA Event when the Event is first scheduled. During Event scheduling, there are three options for visibility:
  1. Public: Anyone can see and access this event.
  2. Unlisted: The event isn’t shown publicly but anyone with a link can join. This is identical to the previous Google+ HOA setting.
  3. Private (Recommended): Only people with whom the event is shared can join the meeting. The Event can then be shared with a domain, group, or individual.

Embed a link to a Hangouts On Air broadcast

Whether the HOA Event was started from Google+ or YouTube Live, the process for embedding an HOA Event is the same.
  1. Open an HOA Event.
  2. In the bottom-right hand corner click Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.05.37 PM.png.
  3. Copy the HTML code from the Video Embed link.
  4. Paste the code into your blog or website HTML.

Record HOA events in YouTube

All HOA Events are recorded and maintain the same access restrictions as the original live stream.

Google+ Q&A App alternatives

  1. Google Slides has a Q&A feature that can be used as part of a broadcast. 
  2. Live Streaming Events also have a feature called Live Chat which can be enabled in the Advanced settings tab.

Set up and create a Hangouts on Air broadcast

For more information on setting up and creating a Hangouts on Air Broadcast, see HOA Transition FAQs.

Learn more

Google+ terms

Just as services like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive are governed by your G Suite agreement, Google+ is being added to the G Suite Services Summary and will be included as a “core service” for all G Suite editions except G Suite for Education. 

Where Google+ is included in your G Suite edition, the following changes will apply:

  1. Going forward, domain-restricted content will be handled as specified in your G Suite agreement and will be covered by any applicable Apps Data Processing Agreement (DPA).  This will not be the case for content created prior to Google+ becoming a core service.
  2. Once Google+ becomes a core service, when a user attempts to create new unrestricted content (i.e. content shared outside of the domain) by posting, commenting, +1’ing, creating communities or collections, or adding content to existing unrestricted content:
    1. Such content will be treated according to the standard Google Terms of Service and will not be protected by the DPA;
    2. The user will be provided with a reasonable warning (e.g. live UI notifications or messages) describing the consequences of the action they are about to perform, so that they can make an informed decision prior to creating unrestricted content.
  3. Google+ will be compliant with terms, conditions and service levels defined in the G Suite Technical Support Services Guidelines and the G Suite Service Level Agreement, and will also be added as a monitored service to the G Suite Status Dashboard.
  4. In the Admin console, Google+ will be removed from the list of Additional Google Services and added to the list of G Suite services.
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