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Google's Failed Social Network, Google+, Will Be No More

09 October 2018

The company announced on its blog on Monday that data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers by a bug that was present for more than two years in its systems.

An internal committee decided not to disclose the potential breach of Google+ because there wasn't evidence of any misuse of the exposed data, which included names, email addresses, ages and occupations, Smith said.

The company hopes these new API access rules will curb the practice of developing simplistic Gmail add-ons that use intrusive permissions to perform machine analysis on emails' texts, harvest user data for ad targeting, track the success of email campaigns, or other nefarious purposes.

Google+ for consumers is shutting down, and far from being a graceful death, its demise is pinned on a March 2018 bug that was not disclosed until today.

This issue has existed 2015 until Google found out about it in March 2018 and made a decision to fix it. Google then had a choice to inform its users but chose not to because it wasn't legally required to and secondly, because it would draw regulatory attention towards itself. This privacy breach, in addition to dwindling user numbers and engagement, has prompted the search giant to shutter the consumer side of Google+. It was supposed to be a challenger to Facebook's social network, which now has more than 2 billion users.

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

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google executives opted against notifying users earlier because of concerns it would catch the attention of regulators and draw comparisons to a data privacy scandal at Facebook. Specifically, third-party applications linked to G+ accounts "had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public".

Under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if personal data is breached, a company needs to inform a supervisory authority within 72 hours, unless the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedom of users.

As part of the announcement, Google also promised to give users "more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app". Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) closed the day at $1,155.92 per share, off more than 10 percent off its 52-week high of $1,291.44.

Facebook introduced a feature that allowed users to connect their accounts with their profiles on dating, music and other apps.

Google's Failed Social Network, Google+, Will Be No More