Google To Close Also-Ran Google+ Social Network Following Disclosure Of Security Flaw

Stick a fork in Google+, the social network is done, finished, finito. Or as Google more delicately puts it, the company is "sunsetting" the consumer version of Google+, a decision that tens (and maybe even dozens!) of users will find upsetting, given the seconds and minutes they have put into the social network when not using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

We're slightly exaggerating, of course, though "low usage and engagement" certainly factored into the decision. In a blog post announcing the closure, Google said that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds. Think about that. Nine of out 10 times someone uses Google+, they are there for about the duration of a sneeze.

Google Plus
To quote the late, great Bill Paxton, "Game over, man. Game over!"

Plain and simple, Google+ "has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption." However, that was not the only factor. Google acknowledged security concerns after performing an audit of all APIs associated with the social network.

"Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain. Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs," Google said.

That bug exposed profile data of Google+ users to any developer who bothered to look. Google says it did not find any evidence that any developer was even aware of the bug, let alone abused the API, and patched the security hole immediately upon discovery in March of this year. Nevertheless, it's an unsettling oversight. More over, the bug affected up to half a million Google+ users.

"The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+," Google said.

This will not happen overnight. Instead, Google will be winding things down over the next 10 months. Google will share more information over the next few months, including ways users can download and migrate their data.