Google announces plans to close Google

Google has chose to shut down its social media website Google+ after a massive data breach which potentially exposed data of over 500,000 users. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place.

When the company's technical staff discovered the bug in March, they decided against disclosing the issue to users because they hadn't found anyone that had been affected, the company said in a blog post.

But the decision to shut down Google+ seems largely due to a previously undisclosed security breach that exposed users' profile data.

Why is Google+ shutting down? A bug in Google+ APIs meant that users' names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age were accessible from 2015 until Google discovered and patched the problem in March this year. It's also limiting said apps' ability to access private data outside of specific use cases. (There are some exceptions-e.g., voicemail and backup apps.) Developers can find more details in the Google Play Developer Policy Center and in the Help Center. One of the four findings was that Google+ faced "significant challenges" in meeting users' privacy expectations.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This review crystallized what we've known for a while: that 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. Before the bug was fixed, the API could have been exploited by applications connected to Google+ accounts to access the private parts of those profiles.

It was explained that the consumer version of Google+ has low usage and engagement with 90 per cent of user sessions lasting less than five seconds. The executive noted that while 438 apps could have leveraged the API's security hole, and 500,000 accounts would have been affected in that case, Google's review found "no evidence" that third-party developers had noticed the bug.

Play Store apps will no longer be allowed to access text message and call logs unless they are the default calling or texting app on a user's device or have an exception from Google.

United States lawmakers are concerned that the big tech companies have come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons in recent years. That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence.

Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

The company will wind down the Google Plus network during a 10-month period expected to be done by the end of next August, Smith wrote in his post.

  • Latoya Cobb