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Google to finally shut down Google Plus as massive security breach revealed

11 October, 2018, 22:59 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • Google+ Shutting Down After Bug Leaks Info of 500k Accounts

As for why it's being shut down, Google says that Google+ has "low usage and engagement", with 90 percent of G+ user sessions lasting less than five seconds.

The data breach does not include any other data a user may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service.

Google is now shuttering Google+ as a delayed response. Before patching it, Google ran an analysis and found that up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were affected.

At one time Google put significant effort into pushing the adoption of Google+, including using its data to personalize search results based on what a user's connections have +1'd.

According to The Journal, Google discovered the data breach in March this year and, although the bug has since been patched, the company decided not to disclose the news for fear of "immediate regulatory interest" and potential reputational damage.

Android data access is being restricted to app developers. The company has said that following an internal investigation in the issue, it has found that there was a bug in the software of Google+ which had exposed user data to outside developers during 2015-March 2018 time period.


The company also debuted a number of new privacy controls, including limiting the apps that can access Gmail, call log, and text messaging data.

Google today also revealed some more steps that it's taking to help protect user data. Up to 438 applications on Google Plus had access to this API, though Google said it has no evidence any developers were aware of the vulnerability.

The company will wind down Google+ over 10 months, targeting an August 2019 shutdown.

Smith said that when users grant permissions to access SMS, Contacts and Phone data to apps, they do so with specific use cases in mind, again indicating that the present policies have given developers overly broad access to people's information. "Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data", he wrote.

Google did not make it clear if the experiment was a success and we'll see the functionality of Reply in other Google apps and services - or if the Reply experiment was a dud and Google is just sweeping it under the rug.

This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

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