The official closing date for Google+ is coming – back up your photos now

For most, the fact that Google+ is closing will come as a big surprise – but only because few thought it was still open.

A 2015 study from Stone Temple Consulting found that there were just 6.7 million users who had posted 50 or more times, which sounds like a lot until you remember that 1.5 billion people check into Facebook every day.

Related: Facebook privacy settings

So it was no surprise that Google+ last year announced it was officially closing its doors (especially after it had the embarrassment of dealing with a massive security breach). The only question was when.

Now we have an answer: Google+ will officially close its doors on Tuesday April 2 – presumably delaying a day to avoid a million obvious April Fool jokes.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts,” the company writes on its support pages. “Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted,” it notes, but adds that if they’re also backed up in Google Photos then you have nothing to fear.

If not, however, the company has outlined the steps you need to take to ensure nothing is lost in the process. Visit the “download your data” page now if this applies to you.

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Although April 2 is the day Google has in mind, it’s a big project and will certainly take a few months to complete. As such, “content may remain through this time,” Google says.

“For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.”

Despite this, there are a few key dates to take note of. You won’t be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events from February 4, while community owners and moderators will be able to download data from early March.

Google+ sign in buttons will stop working in the next few weeks, but the company says in some cases these “may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button.”

Related: How to delete a Facebook account

Google+ commenting will be taken off Google-owned Blogger by February 4, and other sites by March 7. All Google+ comments will be deleted from the April 2 closing date, too.

“From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place,” the company writes at the end of the note. “We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.”

Do you have anything left on Google+ worth saving? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.