Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

Google kept quiet for more than six months after its discovery of a bug that put at risk the personal data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users, the company said Monday, a delay that could spark a new round of regulatory scrutiny. 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 launched the service in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook but noted in its blog post on Monday that Google "has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption".

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.

Because of all of this, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ for consumers. Up to 496,951 users could have been affected, and up to 438 apps could have accessed the data.

'Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data'.

The Google+ vulnerability was discovered at a time that nearly coincided with the notorious privacy leakage scandal of the world's largest social media network Facebook, which has been widely criticized for its failure to protect its users' private data.

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data. So a group of the company's executives ruled that the firm should stay quiet about the flaw, and reportedly informed Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, of their decision.

In an unexpected blog posted today, Google revealed it was closing the rather unpopular social network Google+. A bug in their Google+ People APIs, which potentially exposed the data of over 500.000 users and was promptly patched in March 2018. "So can Google keep the trust of its users going forward?"

Despite the security gaff, Google officials opted not to disclose the problem at the time over fear of intense criticism akin to what Facebook went through after its privacy problems.

The timeline laid out by Google indicates the company discovered the privacy lapse about the same time Facebook was under fire for a leak in its far more popular social network.

Google has even admitted that no one actually uses Google+.

"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.

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