Google+ Is Finally Shutting Down, And It’s About Time

Google to shut down Google+ after users’ data exposed

"A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue", The Wall Street Journal report said.

The information exposed in the Google+ data breach included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation, and relationship status.

Under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if personal data is breached, a company needs to inform a supervisory authority within 72 hours, unless the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedom of users.

In a statement, Google officials said there were other reasons for withholding public disclosure of the data exposure. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that. (There are some exceptions-e.g., voicemail and backup apps.) Developers can find more details in the Google Play Developer Policy Center and in the Help Center. Either way, the news casts a shadow over the Pixel event, and completely distracts from the other small but useful tweaks the company released today regarding privacy, in particular the fact that it is now rolling out more granular Google account permissions.

Shortly after the report was published, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ for consumers, seven years after it was launched, citing the incident as part of the cause.

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However, Google says that there is no evidence that any third-party developers were aware of the bug or abused it. The service, Smith said, failed both in consumer adoption and engagement with apps: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds". In addition, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface, or API, that allowed possible access to the data, according to Google. These include more granular Google account permissions; limits on apps able to access Gmail accounts; and limits on apps' ability to access Android call logs and text messages.

As a part of the announcement of the breach, Google has chose to implement more fine-grained permissions for accessing user data from apps.

Google said that a detailed analysis ran over two weeks prior to patching the bug revealed "the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts" may have been potentially affected.

The company will wind down the Google Plus network during a 10-month period expected to be done by the end of next August, Smith wrote in his post.

The firm is also ending access to contact interaction data on Android devices.

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