Google shuts down Google+ following massive security flaw

Google shuts down Google+ after a massive data breach which potentially leaked information of over 500,000 users

Google+ to Shut Down Following Bug That Exposed 500K Profiles

Google says it does not see evidence that developers made use of the bug before it was patched back in March, but it can't be 100 percent certain.

Google told WSJ that it came to the conclusion not to disclose the issue based on several factors, including whether the company could accurately identify the impacted users, whether there was any evidence of misuse and whether there was any action the users could have taken.

Although the bug was discovered many months ago, Google didn't disclose it right away.

The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed an internal memo circulated among Google's legal staff and senior executives that warned of "immediate regulatory interest" and public comparisons to Facebook's user information leak to Cambridge Analytica should the mistake become public.

Google is closing the Google+ social network after an error exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users last spring, in an incident which the company never disclosed to those affected. The bug in the API allowed the developers to not just access the private, non-public data of the users who signed up as well as people they are connected to.

The social network, which was launched in 2011, was initially supposed to be a response to Facebook and Twitter, but it has ceased to exist outside of a handful of niche communities for years.

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It also announced other security features. Gmail add-ons access will also be limited. Contact interaction data will no longer be available via the Android Contacts API either.

Such apps include email clients, backup and productivity services, Smith said. This privacy breach, in addition to dwindling user numbers and engagement, has prompted the search giant to shutter the consumer side of Google+.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, according to the WSJ. Up to 496,951 users could have been affected, and up to 438 apps could have accessed the data. As part of reparations, the company is permanently shutting down Google+.

Google said today that it has chose to shut down the consumer version of the Google+ app.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations. From that point forward, G+ will continue on as an enterprise product, where many companies seem to use it heavily.

Google today also revealed some more steps that it's taking to help protect user data. In addition, Google Account permissions dialog boxes will be split to show each requested permission, one at a time, within its own dialog box.

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