Google is shutting down Google+, at least for consumers. The company announced the move after reports that a security bug had led to hundreds of thousands of people having their data exposed. And partly as a result of this, Google+ is getting the chop.
Google+ Suffers a Data Leak
As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Google potentially exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of people with Google+ accounts. And while the number of people actually using Google+ on a regular basis is low, plenty have dormant accounts.
The WSJ further alleges that Google opted not to disclose the issue over “fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage”. This is based on an internal memo which mentions Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Google Is Shutting Down Google+
Within minutes of the WSJ story appearing, Google had published an article about Project Strobe on The Keyword. Project Strobe being “a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data”.
Google admits there was “a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs” that meant apps “had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user”. Google patched the bug in March 2018 but “the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected.”
— Erik Reichenbach (@ErikReichenb4ch) October 8, 2018
Based on this, and the fact that “the consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement” Google+ will be shut down over the next 10 months, and completely disappear by August 2019. Giving people plenty of time to move to pastures new.
Google+ Lives on for Businesses
While Google is committed to shutting down Google+ for consumers, it has decided to carry on offering it to enterprise customers. So if you’re business currently uses Google+ expect new features coming your way in the not-too-distant future.
Google+ never lived up to its potential, and has ended up as just another in a long line of Google social media fails. Still, there are so many other social media platforms to choose from, will anyone even miss Google+? I’d forgotten it still existed, to be honest.
Image Credit: Yuri Samoilov/Flickr