Google+ Shutting Down Because It Isn’t Worth Maintaining

Google is shutting down its Google+ social network after a data breach

In a world where there seems to be a new social network data breach every couple of weeks, according to a Wall Street Journal report, a software glitch within Google+ potentially gave third-party developers access to hundreds of thousands of user's private data. The glitch was live for almost three years, according to the reports, but Google decided not to make the breach public because it feared regulation.

Because of all of this, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ for consumers.

A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of almost 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

The firm found that this API allowed app developers to access the information of Google+ users' friends, even if that data was marked as private by the user.

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. "We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API", Smith says, "and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".

The bug was a part of a flaw in an application programming interface (API) Google created to help app developers access profile and contact information for users who sign up for the service, including information shared with 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 in a statement. In other words, Google neglected Google+, possibly exposed profile info, and is now realizing that it should probably tighten things up a bit.

Finding 3: When users grant apps access to their Gmail, they do so with certain use cases in mind.

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The affected data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age, Google said.

"I think Google does have a public relationship issue and this now makes their lack of openness even worse", Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners said.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, according to WSJ. This should translate to only your default phone and texting apps having access to your call and SMS data.

Google says it will give users a 10-month period to transition out of Google+, slated for completion by the end of next August.

While Google+ will no longer be a consumer product, new features will be coming soon to turn it into an enterprise-focused platform.

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

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