Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
IT | By Darin Griffith

Google is finally shutting down Google+ for good following security breach

Google is finally shutting down Google+ for good following security breach

The Wall Street Journal, reported that they have reviewed a memo prepared by Google's legal and policy staff, which indicated that disclosing the data breach could lead to scrutiny by government regulatory agencies.

The company said that it often notifies users when there are security issues and flaws and user data is affected, but its privacy and data protection office said the bug did not meet the threshold. In recent years, Google began to de-couple Google+ from its core services, and shifted its focus on standalone products like Google Photos.

In its long blog, Google said, "Over the years we've received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+". The lawsuit was blocked in the High Court on Monday. "We made a decision to sunset the consumer version of Google+", the company said in the post.

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The information accessed a user's profile information, including the name, email address, occupation, gender and age, according to the blog post, which added: "The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public".

It is surprising, however, that the move comes immediately after the disclosure of a security breach and a damning Wall Street Journal report. As a result (and because of the relatively low engagement shown by Google+ users in the seven years since the service was introduced), Google plans to retire it to consumers. The same report claimed Google covered the incident instead of making it public, fearing "immediate regulatory interest".

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.

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Many have long suspected that Google+ was in its final days, but nearly no-one could have predicted it would end like this. This, combined with the community's extremely low user base-90% of Google+ sessions are under 5 seconds-were enough for Google to be done with it for good. Google will also work with developers to give them time to adjust the required permissions for apps and services that will be affected by the changes.

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

Shortly after this report was published, Google released its full response outlining how it plans on covering its butt and keep data safe under an initiative called "Project Strobe".

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The consumer version of Google+ will be wound down over 10 months, ending by August, the company said.

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