Google+ social media platform to be killed following revelations of privacy flaw

BERLIN GERMANY- AUGUST 21 The Google Plus social network logo is seen in the company's offices behind Android toys

Google+ is officially shutting down

Google will retire its Google+ social network after it admitted to finding flaws that may have exposed private data from up to half a million accounts.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google's legal and policy staff also prepared a memo warning that disclosing the incident would likely trigger "immediate regulatory interest" and invite comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.

The company discovered the issue right when the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal was still fresh on everyone's minds.

Google who has now gone public with the data exposure wrote in a blog post that they found no evidence of data misuse.

Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said.

Almost 500,000 members of the Google+ social networking site had their user profile data left out in the open, easily accessible to third-party developers for over two years.

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The company told WSJ that shutting down Google+ is part of a recent effort to limit third-party developers access to its users' data, including Gmail add-on developers and Android app developers. The error allowed the details of nearly 500,000 people to be accessed by the applications, even when they had demanded that they keep their data private.

However, Google says that there is no evidence that any third-party developers were aware of the bug or abused it.

"We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018", Ben Smith, the company's vice president of engineering, wrote.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations.

Google found up to 438 apps that used this API and 496,951 users may have been affected by this bug.

Around 500,000 users were affected by this, potentially.

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News of the security woes at Google Plus - and the company's failure to disclose them in a timely manner - sent shares of Alphabet were down $9.35, or 0.

Google today has announced that they are shutting down Google+, its social network that was launched over 7 years ago as a competitor to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

As for Google+, the search giant won't miss it that much because the site never got off the ground with end users.

Google said it would continue to offer private Google+-powered networks for businesses now using the software.

App access to user Gmail data will be limited to fewer use cases, Smith said.

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