Google is shutting down its its social network “Google Plus” for regular users, following its disclosure of a flaw discovered in March that exposed personal information of up to 500,000 people. It is predicted to shut down completely in August 2019.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Google had opted not to disclose the issue with its Application Program Interfaces (API) partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, citing unnamed sources and internal documents.
A software glitch gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, the report said.
The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public. This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. (See the full list on our developer site.) It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.
In a statement Google said the issue was not serious enough to inform the public.
“Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met here.”
Google+ was launched in 2011, many said it was a bad attempt to compete with Facebook. Google itself admits “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds”
You can read the full report here – https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/project-strobe/