Google+ will be shut down following security bug

Gerald Bowen
October 10, 2018

Data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said.

Google's attempt at a social network was never particularly popular - and became even less so when it admitted that 500,000 users may have had their data exposed.

The move came amid news that the firm may have failed to disclose a data-exposing security bug presumed to have reached hundreds of thousands of accounts. The social network, which was launched in 2011, was initially supposed to be a response to Facebook and Twitter, but it has ceased to exist outside of a handful of niche communities for years.

Among other changes, the company is updating its User Data Policy for the consumer Gmail API in order to limit apps that may seek permission to access consumer Gmail data.

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The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed an internal memo circulated among Google's legal staff and senior executives that warned of "immediate regulatory interest" and public comparisons to Facebook's user information leak to Cambridge Analytica should the mistake become public.

The company said it determined its course of action based on the data involved in the breach, lack of evidence of misuse and challenges in accurately determining which users to inform. There is also no evidence that any data has been misused. Google has also advised they will remove access to the contact interaction data from the Android Contacts API which allowed apps to show you your most recent contacts, within the next few months.

Google found up to 438 apps that used this API and 496,951 users may have been affected by this bug. The company is henceforth shutting down Google+ to consumers. "By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that", reads the blog.

Do share your thoughts and opinions on Google+ being shut down in the comments section below. Infact even after massive investments and development Google+ didn't gain enormous popularity among users.

Google also said the consumer version of Google+ had low usage and engagement and 90% of user sessions are less than five seconds long, essentially trashing its own product to cover up.

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