11th Oct 2018
Google is set to shut down the majority of its Google+ social network, after user data was left exposed.
The technology giant said that a bug in its software meant that the private information of users was accessible to third parties. Up to 500,000 users were affected.
The Wall Street Journal claims that Google knew about the issue in March but did not reveal it.
The firm said the following in a statement: “Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance.”
There has been speculation for a number of years that Google+, which launched in 2011, would be shut down. The social network failed to compete with Facebook and Google has now decided to pull the plug for consumers.
However, the company will continue to offer Google+ powered networks for businesses that are still using the software.
Ben Smith, Google's Vice President of Engineering, said in a blogpost that Google+ “has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.” He continued: “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds."