Google shuts down Google+ following massive security flaw

Marion JacobsOct 09, 2018

Google launched Google+ in 2011 with an emphasis on privacy, and included fine-grained tools to let users decide what content to share with which of their contacts. "We chose to sunset the consumer version of Google+", the company said in the post.

The API in question, allowed developers access to the public data of the users who signed up to use the app that used that API. It may have leaked user data since 2015 and was apparently found when Google started checking its sites for privacy leaks ahead of the GDPR rollout.

Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network.

One of the changes that Google is making to help give users even more control over their data is more in-depth permission dialog boxes.

Google discovered a problem with the Google+ People API that could allow third-party developers to scrape optional profile information made available to your friends like name, email, occupation, and gender.

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A Google spokesperson cited "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers" expectations" along with "very low usage' as the reasons for the move. Furthermore, Goole even decided not to disclose this bug to the public as it feared Repercussions. Google+ will be gradually discontinued over the next ten months, with the service being scheduled to completely shut down in late August of 2019.

Google did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited to announce it. They're also limiting app's access to your Gmail account moving forward, so only apps that "directly enhance" email functionality (like email clients and backup services) will be able to access your Gmail messages. And this incident will likely add more fuel to the privacy debate and accelerate the call for comprehensive federal regulation to preempt any new local privacy and data security laws, as states seek to take action against such data breaches. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that.

Apps will be required to inform users what data they will have access to. Facebook brought the issue to the forefront in March after its Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a UK-based digital consultancy harvested data on 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

As for Google+, the search giant won't miss it that much because the site never got off the ground with end users.

Do share your thoughts and opinions on Google+ being shut down in the comments section below.

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