Google to shutdown Google+ after security glitch

Gerardo Harmon
October 9, 2018

Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by President Trump's 2016 U.S. election campaign, has hurt the shares of the world's biggest social network and prompted multiple investigations in the United States and Europe.

Google will "sunset" the Google+ social network in an operation called Project Strobe for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook. Specifically, third-party applications linked to G+ accounts "had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public".

When the company's technical staff discovered the bug in March, they decided against disclosing the issue to users because they hadn't found anyone that had been affected, the company said in a blog post.

The company said it determined its course of action based on the data involved in the breach, lack of evidence of misuse and challenges in accurately determining which users to inform.

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It was explained that the consumer version of Google+ has low usage and engagement with 90 per cent of user sessions lasting less than five seconds.

Google has been moving away from Google+ for a while, with the company launching new features for its core search engine where popular individuals, like celebrities, are able to directly post updates within search results.

Google discovers a bug that may have compromised the data of 500,000 users. This exploit was patched in the Spring, but Google isn't taking any more chances and is upping the ante on its API's as well as protecting its customers data. Even so, many users still technically have a profile that has personal information on it. Google will shut it down over the next 10 months for consumers, but keep a version built for businesses open and operating.

Interested in Google? Add Google as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Google news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Giving an app permission to all of this should not be taken lightly.

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This is important because it will restrict access to only one or two apps at a time. Gmail add-ons access will also be limited.

The other changes Google is making include requiring apps to ask separately for each type of information they want from a user, such as access to calendars or address books.

As part of the announcement, Google also promised to give users "more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app".

Additionally, as part of the Android Contacts permission, we had provided basic interaction data so, for example, a messaging app could show you your most recent contacts.

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