Google announced to pull down the shutter of Google+ earlier this year within 10 months. However, due to second data breach, Google have decided to pull down the plug of Google+ within April 2019 instead of the original plan of August 2019. Currently, Google+ has “low usage and engagement”, according to Google, and 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds. But the decision to shut down Google Plus altogether was largely due to the October 2018 security breach.
According to the company, a bug in the Google+ API has exposed the data of 52.5 million users, which has compelled the search giant to kill off Google+ in April 2019. The company also added that the bug was fixed within a week of it being introduced. It allowed developers to access personal information of users, even if that information was set to private. While Google said its internal investigation turned up no evidence that any developers used the bug to access data they shouldn’t have, this breach is still significant. It has the potential to leak names, email addresses, gender, birthday, and more for over 52 million Google Plus users.
“We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way,” David Thacker, VP, Product Management, G Suite. He further added, “With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.”
The company also notified its consumer users and enterprise customers affected by the bug. Although the platform will shut down for consumer users in April 2019, Google will continue to invest in Google+ for businesses.
“We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust. We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs. We will never stop our work to build privacy protections that work for everyone,” David concluded.
This is yet another embarrassment for Google which had major expectations with Google Plus in the social networking sector. It was conceived on 2010 to compete with Facebook but due to poor leadership it became a flop show. The first data breach incident prompted the company’s announcement that it would shut down Google Plus for good in August 2019. However, the latest security threat has now sped up that timeline, with plans to kill the consumer version of Google Plus for good in April 2019.