A report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Google exposed data of thousands of Google+ users. And, this was because of a faulty API of the platform. So, to compensate for this, the company is permanently shutting down the Google+.
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The particular API in question allows the developers to get an access to public data. Further, this API affected those people who signed up to use the app that used that API. Well, because of this the developers had an access to the private, non-public data of the users who signed up as well as people they are connected to.
Now, according to Google 438 apps were using this API and 496,951 users got affected by this bug. Further, the stolen data includes all the basic details of the user’s like full name, birth date, address, gender, occupation, profile pictures, and relationship status. The details like Phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, and other communication data is safe.
In case you were not aware, the issue is existing since 2015. But, Google found about this bug in March 2018 and decided to fix it. Further, Google could have chosen to let their consumers know about the flaw. But, the company decided not to because it was not legally required. And, also the Google didn’t want to draw the attention of the regulatory. We assume that Google didn’t want the company to become a center of attention like Facebook.
According to Google, the company didn’t find any evidence of data being misused. Further, the company didn’t check up with the developers of those 438 applications.
Lastly, as Google+ has a very low usage engagement from consumers with less than five seconds long sessions. So, Google will shut down the Google+ for the consumers.
Google also said the consumer version of Google+ had low usage and engagement and 90% of user sessions are less than five seconds long, essentially trashing its own product to cover up. The company is henceforth shutting down Google+ to consumers.
A few takeaways:
- The bug existed for three years.
- When Google found discovered the flaw, it quietly fixed it to avoid legalities.
- When people discovered it, Google decided to shut down Google+.