So long, Map Maker.
No, Google isn't shutting down Google+ (unfortunately). Instead, the company has announced that Map Maker, its standalone tool for editing, updating, and peer-reviewing maps around the world, will be fully integrated into Google Maps by March, 2017.
The impetus for the change is fairly straightforward: the company wants to reduce the overhead necessary for keeping a separate product alive as it becomes more integrated into Maps proper. From Google:
This update will enable us to focus on providing the best editing and moderation experience within Google Maps on both desktop and on mobile. We'll continue to roll out new features to make sure you're able to do most of the things you've grown accustomed to doing in Map Maker – like edit roads – leading up to March 2017 and after.
Starting today, edits made on Google Maps will no longer be available for moderation on Map Maker. This will allow us to streamline our efforts, speeding up the time for an edit to get published. We will continue posting updates here on the Map Maker Help Forum and on LocalGuidesConnect.com as we bring more features into Google Maps.
Many people don't know much about Google Map Maker, especially that it is one of the company's most popular social networks of a sort, with thousands of people actively updating and editing cartographical information on a daily basis. But you may remember this particular story, of a location near Rawalpindi, Pakistan vandalized with an Android urinating on an Apple logo, forcing Google to shut down Map Maker for a short time while it revamped its permissions.
With great power comes great responsibility.