Google Plus to close after data exposed

Angelica Greene
October 10, 2018

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. Also, Smith is adamant Project Strobe found "no evidence" this bug was abused or even that the developers using the API were aware it existed. The search giant says this data is limited to static profile fields such as name, email address, age, gender, and occupation, and does not include any Google+ posts or Google account data.

Google also announced that, in addition to shutting down Google+, it's revamping its account permissions to allow users to pick and choose which data they share with third-party apps.

Google+, Google's social network website, will be shutting down after a bug made the personal information of up to 500,000 people exposed.

If there is a silver lining, phone numbers, email messages, timeline photos, direct messages, or any other type of communication data were not exposed, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google found and patched the hole this March and an engineering team had briefed CEO Sundar Pichai on the issue along with its prposed intention to not disclose the vulnerability for fear of government investigation and loss of public trust.

Google said that there are up to 438 apps that use the affected API. Gmail add-on access will also be restricted to a small number of developers as part of the moves.

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The problem was found and fixed in March, but a furor has arisen about Google not disclosing this data breach until now. Google executives were concerned about appearances, particularly as Facebook is under fire after an analytics firm allegedly misused the data of tens of millions of users.

Google, replying to requests for comment, defended its decision not to disclose.

Now, after several years of speculation that it was going to be shut down, Google is bringing Google+ for consumers to an end.

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". In fact, 90%of Google+ user sessions only last less than five seconds.

However, Google only keeps the log data of the API in question for two weeks, due to privacy reasons, and therefore "cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug", Smith added.

Other reports by GizPress

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