Google shuts down Google

Google exposed user data, chose not to tell public - WSJ

Google's own social media platform i.e. Google+ is now shutting down permanently for consumers.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.

The bug was discovered in March of 2018, but was presumed to have been open since sometime in 2015.

Shares of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc, were down 2.6% following the news.

The API allowed users to grant access to their and their friends' profile information to apps.

Google shuttered its consumer Google+ site, after the company discovered a software glitch that gave outsiders potential access to private profile data.

Google hoped to avoid comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to Cambridge Analytica, the data firm accused of improperly using information on 87 million Facebook users on behalf of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal said.

Writing in a blog post Monday, Google attempted to downplay the incident, saying it hasn't found any signs that the bug was exploited.

In a blog post, Google vice president of engineering Ben Smith confirmed the company had found a "bug" that affected as many as 500,000 users.

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When Google+ launched in 2011, it was envisioned as a possible rival to Facebook, The Associated Press reported.

It also announced other security features. Now they just come off as damage control. Apps also won't be allowed to sell the data for marketing or ad targeting, and any human review of email data will be "strictly limited".

Call logs and SMS permissions will no longer be sent to developers, while contact interaction data won't be accessible via the Android Contacts API.

Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said.

Such apps include email clients, backup and productivity services, Smith said.

The security flaw will mean the end of Google+ for consumers, the company said.

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 the WSJ.

A Google spokesperson cited "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers´ expectations" along with "very low usage" as the reasons for the move. From that point forward, G+ will continue on as an enterprise product, where many companies seem to use it heavily. The service will be wound down over the next 10 months, with the ultimate shut-down coming in August 2019.

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