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Google announces plan to shut down Google+ by August 2019

Why is Google+ shutting down?

Google plans to shutter the consumer version of Google+, the company has announced in a blog post. Currently, Google+ has “low usage and engagement”, according to Google, and 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds. Google+

But the decision to shut down Google+ seems largely due to a previously undisclosed security breach that exposed users’ profile data.

You see, Google+ users could grant access to their profile data to third-party apps – just like users could with Facebook and Twitter. Google+ users could even allow a third-party app to access the public information of friends. The Google+ bug that’s been discovered and disclosed was located in the Google+ People API. And it allowed third-party apps to gain access to users’ data that was private.

When will Google+ shut down?

Google wants to complete the sunsetting process for the consumer version of Google+ by August 2019. But it also wants to keep the service going for enterprise customers. “Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” Google explained.

Has the bug been patched?

Google said it discovered and immediately patched the API bug in March 2018.

“We believe it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change,” Smith said. The company said it found “no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.”

Google said it couldn’t determine which users were impacted by this bug because the API was designed to keep logs for only two weeks, and it didn’t have access to historical data longer than that.

“However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected,” Smith said. “Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.”

How to download your Google+ data

Over the coming months, Google will update users with additional information, including ways to download and migrate data.

I’m curious as to how this move will affect you, if at all.

Do you currently use Google+? If so, will you miss it when it’s gone?

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