Google+ Shutting Down Because It Isn’t Worth Maintaining
08 October, 2018, 21:41 | Author: Rafael Roberts
Google has said up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially affected by a bug that may have exposed their data to external developers, and the company is shutting down the social network for consumers.
The bug, which went undiscovered from 2015 until March of this year, according to The WSJ, allowed developers to access personal data from the connections of people who had installed their app, even if those people didn't give permission for their information to be accessed. "The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", the company said in a statement. That bug, exposed by the WSJ today, meant that apps with nefarious intent could have extracted data including name, email address, occupation, gender, and age from a person's profile.
The enterprise version of Google+ is to continue. But Google says it has no way of confirming these numbers or which users may have had their data exposed improperly.
The company said in a blog on Monday it had discovered and patched the leak in March of this year and had no evidence of misuse of user data or that any developer was aware or had exploited the vulnerability.
The Wall Street Journal separately reported Monday that Google executives delayed announcing problems with Google+ because of concerns about its reputation and the danger of sparking new pushes for regulation. Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, sources told the WSJ.
The announcement comes as public scrutiny has intensified around Silicon Valley tech giants' management of user data, among other issues.
As for the wind-down of Google+, that will be taking place over a 10 month period.
Smith said Google+ would wind down over the next ten months, during which time users will be able to download or migrate their data, and the site would be permanently retired in August 2019.
"I think Google does have a public relationship issue and this now makes their lack of openness even worse", Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners said.
In the blog post, Google said it did not immediately announce the problems with Google+ because it was not sure which users to inform, who they were and what affected users could do to protect themselves.
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