Google is shutting down Google+ following massive data exposure
Following a massive data breach first reported on by The Wall Street Journal, Google announced today that it is shutting down its social network Google+ for consumers. The company finally admitted that Google+ never received the broad adoption or engagement with users that it had hoped for -- according to a blog post, 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last for less than five seconds. In light of these newly revealed security concerns with Google+'s API, the company has opted to put it out of its misery rather than try and make the social network more secure.
The company discovered a bug in one of Google+'s People APIs that allowed apps access to data from Google+ profiles that weren't marked as public. It included static data fields such as name, email, occupation, gender and age. It did not include information from Google+ posts. The bug was patched in March 2018, but Google didn't inform users at that point. "We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API's log data for only two weeks," the company said in a blog post. "That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug."
However, Google+ will continue as a product for Enterprise users. It's by far the most popular use of the social network. Therefore, the company has made the decision that Google+ is better suited as an internal social network for companies, rather than a consumer product. Google will announce new Enterprise-focused products for Google+ in the near future.
The decision is a part of Project Strobe, which is Google's internal investigation into third-party developer account access to Google and Android products. It takes a close look at security controls, as well as low user engagement that are likely due to privacy concerns. The goal is to identify areas where privacy controls should be tightened.