Though Google allows developers to collect Google+ profile information when granted access by users, a bug gave developers access to the profile data of friends of those users as well, regardless of whether those friends had chosen to share that information publicly. It said the bug could have affected up to 500,000 Google+ accounts, but the company found "no evidence" that any data was actually misused.
Google is shutting down its social network, Google+, the arm of Alphabet Inc. announced Monday.
The consumer functionality of Google+ will be closing over a 10 month period, while Google transitions the product to be used internally by the Enterprise. Currently, Google+ has "low usage and engagement", according to Google, and 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds.
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. By default, Google+ users can grant access to their profile data to third-party apps.
Action 1: We are shutting down Google+ for consumers. Google says they have no evidence that any developer harvested that data and don't show evidence that any even knew the bug existed.
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"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, and has seen limited user interaction with apps".
If you break down Google's announcement to the core you will realize that Google chose to shut down Google Plus because of low user interaction with the service and the prospect of investing lots of resources into the service to make it more attractive to users.
Shares of Google-parent Alphabet fell more than 2% Monday afternoon following a report saying the tech giant discovered that it had exposed personal-profile data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users and then decided not to disclose the details for fear of regulatory scrutiny. Google found no evidence of data misuse.
In a statement to BleepingComputer, a Google Spokesperson said that their Privacy & Data Protection Office felt it was not necessary to disclose as it did not meet the threshold that would warrant it. Google+ will, however, be kept alive for businesses, who use it as a secure place for co-workers to communicate.
Along with this, Google will also force app developers to provide more detailed explanations of what it intends to do with your Google Account if it's requesting access to it.