09 October, 2018
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google accidentally leaked the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users between 2015 and March of this year. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place.
The company says it didn't find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused.
The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.
A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of almost 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure.
So, instead of sticking with the product, Google chose to shut it down for consumers and turn it into an Enterprise-exclusive product instead.
Google+ is widely seen as one of Google's biggest failures, the WSJ says.
All these changes are happening in the coming months, giving users more control over their own data. It's worth noting that Microsoft also has several active Google+ communities dedicated to its most popular Android apps such as the Microsoft Launcher, and it's not clear yet what will happen to them.
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The exposure was the result of a flaw in programming interfaces Google made available to developers of applications that interacted with users' Google+ profiles, Google officials said in a post published after the WSJ report.
"Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain".
After seven highly unsuccessful years, Google+ is effectively dead. Also, Smith is adamant Project Strobe found "no evidence" this bug was abused or even that the developers using the API were aware it existed.
The consumer version was found to have low usage and engagement, with 90 percent of Google+ user sessions lasting fewer than five seconds, according to the firm. That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence.
Google is shutting down its much-maligned social network, Google+, after user data was exposed. For Gmail (the consumer version), Google is updating its User Data Policy and limiting apps' access to data.
Finally, Google will limit apps' ability to receive Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices, and the Android Contact API will no longer provide access to contact interaction data. There is no suggestion that any credit card or bank information was exposed, but exposing private information about individuals can make them more vulnerable to fraud.
The consumer functionality of Google+ will be closing over a 10 month period, while Google transitions the product to be used internally by the Enterprise.