Google is ready to throw in the towel on its languid and long-abandoned Google+ social networking service. Google+ was created to counter the growing social media (and advertising) threat of Facebook, but has failed miserably in just about every measurable way.
We’re now learning that Google+ was compromised by another bug, which resulted in the information of 52.5 million users being exposed to developers. The bug was found in the Google+ API, and Google says that there was a six-day window in which the data was readily accessible before it fixed the breach. While it was exploited, developers were able to access personal data even if a user’s profile was not set to be publicly viewable.
This data included Google+ users’ full name, date of birth, email address and occupation (among other things). Further compounding matters, developers were also able to gain access to profile data that was only meant to be shared privately with another Google+ user (without the intention of having those details made public). For consumer and enterprise customers among the 52.5 million affected, Google says that it has already begun sending out notifications about the privacy invasion.
The immediate consequence of this latest Google+ folly is that Google will now shutter the service four months ahead of schedule. The company was originally going to kill off the service in August 2019 – following the disclosure of the last major data breach – but will now do so in April for consumers.
“We want to give users ample opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+, and over the coming months, we will continue to provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data,” Google writes.
In addition, the company will “sunset” all Google+ APIs within the next 90 days. It’s definitely a rather embarrassing way to end its Google+ service, but the good thing for Google is that not many people will even notice.