In an effort to improve usability, Google is removing disused, unverified Google My Business (GMB) accounts.
A recent post on SearchEngineLand.com details how Google photographers were sent announcements to warn them that in a coming update, Business View Tours may be removed as a result of being attached to unused GMB accounts that are not linked to a Google+ user account or are not verified. The update is due on the 28th July.
Some have speculated what this means for Google in the long term, and how big a change this is going to make to verified businesses using the service. Participants on the forum were divided by those who feel the update is a simple clean up and those who fear the update would be damaging to businesses.
One user, Linda Buquet, sought confirmation from Google, and was informed that “the unclaimed pages will no longer be available. The data is still out there, but will not show up as a G+ page any more. That business data will still however show up in search and maps (unless it's an SAB with a hidden address). There just won't be a G+ Local page.”
This seems like a simple clean up with the intention of removing duplicate, invalid, out of date or inaccurate information, but the reality is that the data will still effect search rankings on businesses, but be harder for search engine optimisers (SEOs) to diagnose.
However, GMB is not the first Google+ facility that has been changed or removed. Google plus Photos were recently knocked off the search engine to make way for Google Photos. Some have speculated that it may be the end of Google+'s era, with the ongoing streamlining of Google Local.