+Google have officially announced that they will be shutting down Google+ by August next year due to an API bug which meant that 500,000 Google+ users’ data has been left exposed due to a ‘glitch’ supposedly on-going since 2015. Better still…. They chose to keep quiet about it after they discovered it in March earlier this year. Google has also said that the consumer version of Google+ has ‘low usage and engagement’, with 90% of user interactions on the site being less than five seconds. However, Google+ will plan to keep the service alive for business usage to connect with co-workers.
The API bug…
The API bug meant that third-party developers could retrieve data of users who never intended to share it publicly or give permission. The bug… well, ‘breach’, allowed sensitive user information to potentially be exposed including; users’ full names, email addresses, date of birth, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status.
The API contained a bug which allowed apps to access profile data from user’s even when the Google privacy settings were marked ‘non-public’ by that individual. The bug was only discovered in March 2018 when Google engineers were refining Google sites in preparation for the EU GDPR implemented in May, they failed to speak up about it as Google lawyers warned them that going public about this matter could spark “immediate regulatory interest.”
Google + ‘won’t’ be missed…
It seems that the announce of the Google+ shut down in August hasn’t affected many people, as lead internet analyst Youssef Squali claimed it was ‘dead on arrival’, with many others thinking it was trying to compete with Facebook as a social networking site but didn’t do so well. The shut down was also influenced by the neglect from consumers, and it highlighted Googles failed attempt to build a social network when apps such as Facebook have roughly 2 billion active and loyal users per month which is hard to compete with!
Not all things are bad about Google+, as some users have said it is a good site to write long posts and topics to connect with others and have discussions with ‘strangers’ rather than build friendships such as a site like Facebook. It seems that some business owners may be affected by the Google+ shut down.
Google have said in a blog that “their goal is to support a wide range of useful apps, while ensuring that everyone is confident that their data is secure. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that.”