Google+ Shutting Down Because It Isn’t Worth Maintaining

Google+ Shutting Down Because It Isn’t Worth Maintaining

Google+ Shutting Down Because It Isn’t Worth Maintaining

Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users and opted not to disclose the breach earlier this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In response to the breach, Google is shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+. "Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we chose to sunset the consumer version of Google+".

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.

In a blog post published right after the WSJ's report, Google confirmed that it is shutting down Google+, as well as confirming a number of the details from the WSJ report. Google found no evidence of data misuse.

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Just like with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ users can also allow a third-party app to access the public profile information of a user's friends. The company notes that it will be "launching new features purpose-build for businesses", and that it'll share more information in the coming days.

However, Google+ failed to gain traction beyond a small fan base, despite multiple tweaks that shifted the focus on photo sharing, communities and other high-engagement applications.

The decision to not alert users was made after company officials wrote a memo concluding Google wasn't legally obligated to disclose the bug, and that there would be no point in telling users since the company had no way to confirm who was affected, according to The WSJ.

Affected data included Google+ profile information like names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age information, but no personal messages, according to the company, which added that it didn't find any evidence that any developer actually exploited the bug to access any of this information. This should translate to only your default phone and texting apps having access to your call and SMS data. 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. On Monday, Google said 90 percent of Google+ sessions today last less than five seconds.

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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. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the company said.

The news comes as Silicon Valley companies have been increasingly scrutinized for their data collection practices.

Google will continue to operate Google+ as an enterprise product for companies.

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