Google will close most of its failing social media platform Google+ and implement several new privacy measures after discovering that hundreds of thousands of users potentially had their personal data exposed because of a previously undisclosed software bug, the company announced Monday.
"We 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 in a blog post.
Smith said that when users grant permissions to access SMS, Contacts and Phone data to apps, they do so with specific use cases in mind, again indicating that the present policies have given developers overly broad access to people's information. However, a report by The Wall Street Journal newspaper suggested that the Mountain View, California, company wanted to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny.
Google found and patched the hole this March and an engineering team had briefed CEO Sundar Pichai on the issue along with its prposed intention to not disclose the vulnerability for fear of government investigation and loss of public trust.
Google's excuse is that it found no evidence of any of the data being misused, however, it also has no way of being sure of that.
These apps will also need to agree to new rules on handling Gmail data, and will be subject to new security assessments.
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It's possible Google+ may have been shut down eventually, but it's the security breach that forced Google's hand.
"We are shutting down Google+ for consumers", Smith added, admitting that the product was, at best, underwhelming. By the company's reckoning, up to 438 applications may have been able to access private profile data because of the software bug. This, combined with the community's extremely low user base-90% of Google+ sessions are under 5 seconds-were enough for Google to be done with it for good.
The company, however, can not confirm which users were affected by the bug when it was active from 2015 to 2018.
Android data access is being restricted to app developers.
The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations.
The pop up should show you all the information about that Google account including your name, email associated with the account, and if you have one, a Google Plus account.