Google has announced that it will “sunset” the consumer version of Google+ after disclosing a security bug that affected some 500 000 users.

The bug was discovered during a review of Google+ APIs and user data security Google calls Project Strobe.

During the review Google discovered a bug within the Google+ People API. This API allows users to share information with other applications that make use of this API so you don’t have to re-enter your birth date for instance.

As it turns out however, developers might have been able to see more than you bargained on.

“The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public,” wrote Google.

“This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content,” the firm said.

The bug was discovered and patched back in March of this year and Google says that it found no evidence that any profile data was misused or that developers were even aware of the bug.

And that is perhaps the nail in the coffin that many have been expecting for years.

People simply don’t care about Google+ and Google knows this. The firm says that 90 percent of Google+ sessions are under five seconds long.

So come August 2019 Google+ for consumers will shut down but Google still believes the social network holds value for enterprise.

“Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses,” Google says.

While we think this is a smart move, perhaps Google should have waited to announce this rather than bundle it alongside a disclosure of a bug that had seemingly been a part of the Google+ API since launch.

Will Google+ flourish or flounder as a social network for enterprise? We are highly doubtful considering Google+ has failed as a consumer product but perhaps we are wrong and maybe Google+ will get a second wind.

[Source – Google]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.