Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Google shutting down social network Google+ after security bug disclosed

Google shutting down social network Google+ after security bug disclosed

Ireland's data protection regulator said on Tuesday that it would seek more information from Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O) regarding a security issue that may have exposed the data of at least 500,000 users to hundreds of external developers. Facebook brought the issue to the forefront in March after its Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a UK-based digital consultancy harvested data on 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan to not disclose the data breach.

Google+ minus people: In a blog post published after the article ran, Google said it had found no evidence data had been abused, and that it would shut off consumer access to Google+ (a corporate version will presumably continue to run).

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Additionally, Google is limiting which apps can seek permission to users' consumer Gmail data.

Almost 500,000 members of the Google+ social networking site had their user profile data left out in the open, easily accessible to third-party developers for over two years. Third-party SMS apps will still be allowed, but they can only access this data if the user sets the app as their default for text messaging. Although it's not able to tell whether or not apps misused user data, Google said that up to 438 applications had access to unauthorized Google+ data.

"We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018". The undertaking is called Project Strobe, which looks "at the operation of our privacy controls, platforms where users were not engaging with our APIs because of concerns around data privacy, areas where developers may have been granted overly broad access, and other areas in which our policies should be tightened". By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that.

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Google put the "final nail in the coffin" of the Google+ product by shutting down "all consumer functionality", the Wall Street Journal reported citing an internal memo. If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere.

"To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August", said Ben Smith, Google's Vice President of Engineering.

Google+ launched with much fanfare in 2011, positioned as the search giant's answer to Facebook. Google said that 90 percent of all Google+ sessions don't last more than five seconds, confirming rumors that the site was more of a ghost town, when compared to Twitter and Facebook.

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