Google Plus, the social network that was designed to be the next Facebook but never reached Facebook’s levels of popularity, is expected to be shut down by Google following a massive security breach.
Launched in the summer of 2015, Google Plus was intended to become as big as Facebook, aiming for the same number of users and endless user activity on the website. However, due to a variety of reasons, Google+ never really took off.
There have been numerous attempts to revive the social network and attract new users, with a major redesign in 2015, but the number of active users continued to drop, with a recent report stating that over 90% of user interactions with Google+ last less than 5 seconds.
Even though the security breach was discovered and patched in March 2018, the public didn’t find out about the potentially compromised data until last week. Up to 500,000 Google Plus accounts are believed to have been affected by the bug.
The security bug that led to the breach allowed third-party developers to access private data of hundreds of thousands of users. The data includes different profile fields: the person’s email address, name, age, gender, and occupation.
Google claims that it is unlikely that the developers used the obtained data in a wrong way or even knew about the security breach. However, Google decided to take measures as drastic as possible by shutting down the access to Google+ for consumers altogether.
One of the biggest security breaches in the history of social media couldn’t have been ignored by Google, but some view the decision to shut down Google Plus as an overreaction and believe it was simply an excuse to close the network that never met the objectives set for it.
Google announced that the shutdown will take place over 10 months, resulting in a complete closing of the network by August 2019. But the list of measures taken by Google doesn’t end there – they also announced plans for major security improvements.
Most importantly, Google is now restricting access to your data for apps and developers who don’t need all of your data for functioning. For example, only the apps you select for calls and texting can access your call log or SMS, while only Gmail and other email apps will be able to view your emails.