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Google is killing off the web notifications widget it launched with Google+

Published Feb 6th, 2019 10:05PM EST
Google notifications widget
Image: Valeriya Zankovych

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That little bell you see in the upper right hand corner of Google web pages — and which you probably haven’t clicked in a while — is going away soon, another little bit of fallout from Google’s decision to kill off the consumer version of its failed social network Google+.

Time was, that bell opened up a notification widget that was meant to nudge you into using Google’s failed Facebook rival more. It lit up whenever you had messages or other activity on the service, for example, and eventually became a notification service for other Google properties like the very useful Google Photos. Whenever the photo service, for example, automatically makes a collage or there’s any other activity there, the bell still turns red to let you know.

Like all things that are a throwback to another time, though, Google is killing off the bell completely in just a few weeks. If you click in that upper right hand corner today, you should see a message that says the widget is going away on March 7. You can click on the short message it shows you to open up a separate page that includes the following note: “After March 7, 2019, notifications for Google web products will no longer be accessible from the navigation bar. If you’d like to receive similar notifications in the future, you can update the notification settings for your individual Google products.”

That page you open up by clicking “Learn more” is where you can enable notifications for other properties like Photos and Hangouts Chat that would have otherwise come through the bell, so that you don’t miss anything after March 7.

This change is another shift in the wake of Google filling killing off Google+ for consumers in April, though Google has already started incrementally making changes that are headed in that direction. The company said some features are getting killed off starting this week, and — no surprise –it’s already stopped accepting new pages, communities and the like. Google+ comments are also going to start being removed from sites on March 7.

That all leads up to April 2, which is when Google+ will be shut down completely for consumers, meaning all of your posts, photos, videos and more will be deleted if they aren’t backed up to a service like Google Photos.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.