The company discovered the issue right when the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal was still fresh on everyone's minds. The company has stated that the closure will occur over the course of the next 10 months, and following the breach Google has also promised to boost user privacy for its other services.
The bug: This had been around since 2015 and was found in code that lets third-party app developers access publicly available Google+ profile data about a user and their connections, so long as the user gives permission.
The API allowed users to grant access to their and their friends' profile information to apps. 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.
"We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018", Ben Smith, the company's vice president of engineering, wrote. Others include limiting what sorts of data that can be collected per transaction when users share their Gmail accounts and phone numbers.
Google said today that it has made a decision to shut down the consumer version of the Google+ app.
Google today announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.
"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", said Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View in northern California, Xinhua reported.
Google said it would continue to offer private Google+-powered networks for businesses now using the software.
"Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues", a spokesperson for Google said in a statement provided to CNN Business.
Google has denied the newspaper's accusations, saying it determined its course of action based on the data involved in the breach, lack of evidence of data misuse and the challenge of determining precisely how many and which users were affected.
Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.
For Gmail apps requesting permission to user data Google will only grant access to apps which 'directly enhancing email functionality-such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services)'.
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