Google has decided to shut down its social network arm Google+ for consumers following a potential security breach that exposed the data of around 500,000 users. The update was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. However, Google cited low user engagement and software errors as the reason for the shutdown.
US-based tech and software giant will completely shut down Google+ by August next year. Users have been provided with the option to download and migrate their information till then. Furthermore, Google is expected to be focusing on enterprises and enable Google+ for business clients.
Google mentioned in its blog post “Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organisation.”
Using the API, an end user can grant access to their public profile data and information of their friends to various Google+ applications. As Google explains, the security bug allowed the apps to have access to private profile fields of the user including name, email, address, occupation, gender and age.
Google first discovered the security flaw in March this year and immediately update the code to fix the issue. However, they found no evidence that any developer was aware of the bug or abusing the API. Google claims that no profile data was ever misused using the bug.
The shutdown of Google+ is a part of Google’s initiative to make the platform as secure as possible under Project Strobe. The project was launched at the beginning of this year under which Google is reviewing the third-party developer access to Google account and Android device to make it more secure and bug-free.
“This project looked at the operation of our privacy controls, platforms where users were not engaging with our APIs because of concerns around data privacy, areas where developers may have been granted overly broad access, and other areas in which our policies should be tightened,” mentioned Google.
As you might know, Facebook has been bashed over the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal earlier this year. This led to a driving force for organizations worldwide to take security measures to protect consumer data and information.
The Wall Street Journal has accused Sundar Pichai led organization of not disclosing the details of the data breach, for “the fear of facing the wrath of its users”. Coming to India, the largest data records and digital identity scheme Aadhaar also faced a trial for several months in the Honorable Supreme Court before getting the legal mandate.