Google Shuts Down Google

Google Shuts Down Google

Lindsey Duncan
October 11, 2018

Google announced today that it is shutting down the Google+ social network after the company's engineers found an API bug that might have exposed some private profile data for more than 500,000 Google+ users.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the bug in the Google+ API existed between 2015 and March 2018, which was when Google discovered and fixed the bug. However, many were quick to point out the announcement came after The Wall Street Journal reported the bug and said Google opted not to disclose it to avoid regulatory scrutiny and reputational damages.

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 has said it hasn't found any evidence that the exposed data was misused or inappropriately accessed by any third party.

Google also announced new API changes and privacy updates that will allow users to control third-party access to data on Android an Gmail.

In any case, the conclusion is the same: Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, citing challenges in maintaining the service effectively. Google says Google+ for consumers will wind down over a 10-month period, which would be complete by the end of next August.

The API allowed users to grant access to their and their friends' profile information to apps.

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Google+ is soon to be gone, but will you miss it?

According to WSJ sources, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan only after the decision not to inform the public was made - riiiiight.

Once you're in your Google Plus account, go to settings and scroll to the very bottom of the tab and select on the "Delete your Google+ Profile" link. This happened even when the user data was listed private.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

The demise of Google+ also came as a result of a bug discovered a year ago but acknowledged for the first time by Google on Monday, and the flaw in one of its Google+ "People APIs" exposed some private user data to third-party developers, including such information as the occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of many users.

More information will be available over the coming months, including ways that users can download and migrate their data.