Google+ Is Shutting Down Three Months Early After New Privacy Bug

Google+ Is Shutting Down Three Months Early After New Privacy Bug

Google+ Is Shutting Down Three Months Early After New Privacy Bug

The disclosure comes a day before Chief Executive Sundar Pichai is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress about Google's data collection practices.

The tech giant announced last October that it would shut down Google Plus due to low usage and cybersecurity challenges, noting that it had patched a bug in March 2018 that had briefly exposed private information of roughly 500,000 users.

Google said the bug was introduced in November during a previous platform update and was live for only six days before its engineers discovered the issue.

With this new API bug, the second one since October, the company chose to rush the retirement of the platform to April 2019, while all Google+ APIs will shut down in the next 90 days.

Google+ has always been the butt of jokes for being a failed social network that few people used. Originally expected to shut down in August 2019, the service will now shut down in April 2019 instead.

Google said it encountered the bug as part of its "standard and ongoing testing procedures" and fixed it within a week of its discovery.

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The company was originally going to shut the service down in August of 2019, but in light of this latest API bug, Google has made a decision to expedite the shutdown process and wrap things up in April 2019.

Perhaps even more impactful, all Google+ APIs are scheduled to be completely shut down within the next 90 days. It's estimated that upwards of 52 million users were affected by this leak.

However, Google said in a blog post that it found no evidence that any other apps had accessed the data, such as name, email, gender and age, using the latest bug.

Thacker also says user security is the company's top priority, more so than the inconvenience to developers: "We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust..."

In an announcement today, he stresses that the privacy gaffe was not the result of a compromise from a third party and that Google has no evidence "that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way". Apps could have accessed some non-public profile data that had been shared with a user as well.

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