Digital Marketing News

Google+ Is on Its Way to Shutdown for Consumers

Two days ago, Google announced on its official blog that they are deciding to shut down Google+ for consumers, as part of Google’s Project Strobe, that is a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of Google’s philosophy around apps’ data access. Project Strobe is launched by Google in the beginning of this year, in order to identify the operation of Google’s privacy controls, platforms where users were not engaging with its APIs because of concerns around data privacy, areas where developers may have been granted overly broad access, and other areas in which Google’s policies should be tightened.

As confirmed by Google, this Project Strobe enables Google’s engineering team to review all the APIs associated with Google+. This review also allowed them to discover some important issues that negatively affect the consumers’ experience.

As expressed by Google, this decision is a result for many reasons:

  • However  Google’s engineers have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption with limited user interaction.
  • 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.
  • Google+ APIs and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain.
  • Google engineering team discovered a bug in one of the Google+ APIs:
  1. Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.
  2.  Apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.
  3. This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender, and age.

Google discovered this bug in March 2018 and ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.

Additionally, Google mentioned that; “We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.” As a desire to enable users to transfer their data, Google confirmed that they will slowly shut down Google+ over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. “Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.”



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