Google Is Shutting Down Google

The company announced today that it's killing the consumer version of Google+ after it discovered some major privacy issues with the official Google+ APIs.

According to the WSJ report, Google executive leadership did know about the bug yet made a decision to not report it immediately due to concerns over regulatory scrutiny.

Smith also went on to confirm that the company had found a "bug", affecting as many as 500,000 users, that exposed users' private data to third-party apps between 2015 until this March 2018. Info that was not exposed includes email messages, Google+ timeline posts, direct messages with other users, phone numbers and "any other type of communication data".

Despite the size of the security flaw, Google executives opted not to disclose the problem at the time because they feared trouble from regulators after the intense criticism encountered by Facebook over its privacy woes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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In response to this, Google+ will be shutting down for regular users. It was supposed to be a challenger to Facebook's social network, which now has more than 2 billion users. The company stated in its post that there was no evidence "that any developer was aware of this bug, or. that any Profile data was misused". (There are some exceptions-e.g., voicemail and backup apps.) Developers can find more details in the Google Play Developer Policy Center and in the Help Center.

The US internet giant said it will "sunset" the Google+ social network for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook.

On the other hand, of course, Google's Project Zero team publicly skewers organizations and projects that fall short in terms of security, calling out vulnerabilities in products whether they were actively exploited or not. Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested.

The long and short of the issue is that there was a security hole that allowed third-party developers to access Google+ users' account data, including name, email address, occupation, gender, and age-even if the account was set as private. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that. Nowadays, you head over to Google+ and it is truly a ghost town, that has been taken over by spammers. In addition, Google is limiting the ability of Android apps to obtain Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices, and is no longer allowing access to contact interaction data through the Android Contacts API.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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