Tech giant Google will shut down the consumer version of its social media platform Google+ come April.
Google+ is a social media platform that is accessed via the same Google account linked to other services such as Gmail and YouTube.
Since its inception, Google has had trouble giving Google+ the mass appeal of Facebook and other social networking giants.
Despite unsatisfying user statistics, Google+ has amassed a very loyal and active fanbase who have formed many close-knit communities.
Many such users have taken to the platform, and Google’s blog posts regarding the decision, to express their dissatisfaction.
Google offers a consumer and an enterprise version of Google+; only the consumer version is being shut down as they continue to see investment and growth in the enterprise version.
The closing date was first announced as August 2019 but has since been accelerated to April 2019.
In their initial announcement, Google cited challenges involved in maintaining a commercially successful product that satisfies consumer expectations and the platform’s low usage as reasons for the shutdown.
The accelerated shutdown date was announced due to many users being impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API.
“We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.” Google said.
“With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.”
So far, Google have confirmed that the bug affected roughly 52.5 million users.
“…apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile—like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)—were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public.” Google said.
“In addition, apps with access to a user’s Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.”
The bug did not give developers access to information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft.”
No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.”
Google has not announced any plans to reenter consumer social media in the future.
Users can expect continued updates on the shutdown process, such as how to safely download and migrate their data, through Google’s blog at the link below:
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Mitchell has a Bachelor of Arts with Majors in Journalism and Foreign Relations; and a Diploma of Digital Design.