Google Totally Shutters Google+ Following Massive Privacy Vulnerability

google-512

 Google is shutting down its long-neglected Facebook competitor Google+ following the disclosure of a vulnerability that could have resulted in third-party developers accessing private data from around 500,000 users, the company announced late Monday.

80-google-plus-512

In announcing the closure, Google acknowledged that Google+ failed to gain significant traction with consumers. “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” the company said in a statement.

 

Google said it discovered a bug in Google+ that allowed developers of “up to 438 applications” to access personal information from users who had opted to keep that information private.

 

Affected data included Google+ profile information like names, email addresses, occupations, and gender and age information, but no personal messages, according to the company, which added that it didn’t find any evidence that any developer actually exploited the bug to access any of this info.

 

Google launched Google+ in 2011 with an emphasis on privacy, and included fine-grained tools to let users decide what content to share with which of their contacts. The company initially closely connected Google+ with a number of other Google products, including YouTube, Hangouts, and even search.

 

 

However, Google+ failed to gain traction beyond a small fan base, despite multiple tweaks that shifted the focus on photo sharing, communities, and other high-engagement applications. In recent years, Google began to de-couple Google+ from its core services, and shifted its focus on standalone products like Google Photos.

 

Google said on Monday that it will phase out Google+ over the next 10 months. The company plans to keep Google+ up and running as an enterprise communications tool.

 

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   Google+
Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd