Google Plus to close after bug leaks personal information

While no evidence was found that indicates this bug was ever misused, it was determined that the complexity of protecting and operating a social network like Google+ was not a worthwhile endeavor when so few users actually used the service for any length of time. The breach happened after a software glitch in the site gave outside developers potential access to private profile data including names, email addresses, birth dates, genders, occupations and more.

Google admitted in the blog post disclosing the bug that usage of Google+ has dropped off in recent years. But Google says it has no way of confirming these numbers or which users may have had their data exposed improperly. The lawsuit was blocked in the High Court on Monday.

As many as 438 applications had access to the unauthorized Google+ data, according to the Journal. For Gmail (the consumer version), Google is updating its User Data Policy and limiting apps' access to data. "While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption".

In a blogpost about the shutdown, Google disclosed the data breach, which it said potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts.

If you break down Google's announcement to the core you will realize that Google made a decision to shut down Google Plus because of low user interaction with the service and the prospect of investing lots of resources into the service to make it more attractive to users.

Action 2: We are launching more granular Google Account permissions that will show in individual dialog boxes.

Google+ launched with much fanfare in 2011, positioned as the search giant's answer to Facebook. Google found out that the service had low user interaction as 90% of sessions ended in less than 5 seconds.

Google did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited to announce it.

Google said it would continue to offer private Google+-powered networks for businesses now using the software.

For Google, a data privacy reckoning may finally come as a result of a service that it admits nearly no one uses much anymore.

As a result of the security audit, Google plans to allow users to more tightly control what data is available to applications that sync with Google accounts or its free Gmail email service. Google Play will limit the types of apps that are allowed to request these permissions-only your default app for the given situation will be able to access this info. "Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data".

  • Fernando Stephens