Google to shut down Google

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

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company didn't disclose to its customers the data breach for fear of damaging its reputation as well as facing a potential for a regulatory inquiry.

Google+ is widely seen as one of Google's biggest failures, the WSJ says.

Google put the "final nail in the coffin" of the Google+ product by shutting down "all consumer functionality", the Wall Street Journal reported citing an internal memo.

U.S. lawmakers are concerned that the big tech companies have come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons in recent years. In the meantime, Google says users should stay tuned for more information on how to download their data from the site, should they so desire.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google started an internal project called Strobe in the beginning of 2018 that looked at "third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data" and "privacy controls, platforms where users were not engaging" with APIs due to privacy concerns and other areas where Google policies "should be tightened". The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.

Google said Monday that it will phase out Google+ over the next ten months. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that. Google claims that they didn't tell its users because they believed that without sufficient information on who was hacked, they found it wouldn't be useful to identify the public on the matter.

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Google will take the next 10 months to kill off G+ for consumers, finishing it off by August of 2019. None of these thresholds were met here.

Meanwhile, Google said the flaw was an unexploited API bug discovered and fixed internally before anyone externally found it - and in any case, it's shuttering Google+ because netizens don't use it. Businesses will still be able to use the service as an internal chat channel, though.

The other changes Google is making include requiring apps to ask separately for each type of information they want from a user, such as access to calendars or address books.

Ben Smith, Google's vice president of engineering, confirmed in a blog post the company had detected a "bug" in March that impacted the profiles of as many as 500,000 Google Plus users.

Finally, the Android contacts API will no longer let third-party apps access interactions with contacts.

Smith defended the decision not to disclose the breach, writing: "Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice".

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