Google to shut down Google+

Laverne Mann
October 9, 2018

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. However, Google said no other data, including private messages or phone numbers, could have been accessed, and that there's no evidence that developers were actually aware of this bug or that data was misused.

The data exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile pictures, places lived, occupations and relationship status. Google said the bug hasn't affected the personal data but is investigating the issue. The lawsuit was blocked in the High Court on Monday.

The US internet giant said it will "sunset" the Google+ social network for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook.

According to their reporting, an internal committee at Google decided not to disclose the bug even though they were not 100% sure that it was not abused.

One of the changes that Google is making to help give users even more control over their data is more in-depth permission dialog boxes.

A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of almost 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure. So, Google is shutting it down consumer access to G+.

Action 2: We are launching more granular Google Account permissions that will show in individual dialog boxes.

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Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by President Trump's 2016 U.S. election campaign, has hurt the shares of the world's biggest social network and prompted multiple investigations in the United States and Europe. Currently, Google+ has "low usage and engagement", according to Google, and 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds. It's worth noting that Microsoft also has several active Google+ communities dedicated to its most popular Android apps such as the Microsoft Launcher, and it's not clear yet what will happen to them.

This shut down will come after a 10-month "wind-down" period, which ends next August.

There is no federal law that obliges Google to disclose data leaks, but there are laws at a state level.

Google plans to make announcements in the coming months that provide consumers with additional information such as options to migrate data or download it, the latter likely through Google's Takeout service.

The company said that its review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ "that meets consumers" expectations'. Gmail add-ons access will also be limited.

The company also debuted a number of new privacy controls, including limiting the apps that can access Gmail, call log, and text messaging data.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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