Google shutting down Google

A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it

Google has said up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially affected by a bug that may have exposed their data to external developers, and the company is shutting down the social network for consumers.

The firm found that this API allowed app developers to access the information of Google+ users' friends, even if that data was marked as private by the user. The company notes that it will be "launching new features purpose-build for businesses", and that it'll share more information in the coming days.

According to an internal memo viewed by the Wall Street Journal, Google feared disclosing the issue would be detrimental to its reputation and draw unwanted regulatory attention.

The affected data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age, Google said. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

'It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G suite content, ' Smith explained.

Speaking about the exposed data, Google said on 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". The glitch was live for almost three years, according to the reports, but Google decided not to make the breach public because it feared regulation.

In addition to the sunsetting of Google+, Project Strobe brings in new, more granular controls over the data Android and Gmail users share with apps.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, according to WSJ.

Now, the consumer version of Google+ is going away.

The news comes as Silicon Valley companies have been increasingly scrutinized for their data collection practices. The user-facing aspects of the platform will shut down over the next 10 months.

Action 4: We are limiting apps' ability to receive Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices, and are no longer making contact interaction data available via the Android Contacts API.

"None of these thresholds were met here", they said.

Smith said Google+ would wind down over the next ten months, during which time users will be able to download or migrate their data, and the site would be permanently retired in August 2019. Google says that "only apps directly enhancing email functionality-such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services", will be given authorization.

Specifically, the issue disclosed Monday came through one of the Google+ "People" APIs, a developer tool available to third-party app developers.

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