After an undisclosed security breach was revealed, Google+ will be shutting down

The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration

The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration

Google then noted how the site wasn't really becoming a strong social destination, despite the fact that it could link up with other pages such as Gmail, Blogger and YouTube.

Google is at the centre of controversy this morning over a report of a massive user data breach that occurred past year, with the result that they will be introducing finer grain controls to limit access to user data on the web and Android - and also shutdown Google+ for consumers. However, this isn't the main reason why Google will shut down Google+ for consumers: Google also disclosed today that a bug made it possible for outside developers to access private data from users.

Google said it hasn't yet found any evidence that the data obtained as a result of the bug was misused.

The consumer functionality of Google+ will be closing over a 10 month period, while Google transitions the product to be used internally by the Enterprise.

The data exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile pictures, places lived, occupations and relationship status.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Google had opted not to disclose the issue with its Application Program Interfaces (API) partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, citing unnamed sources and internal documents. That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence. A bug in their Google+ People APIs, which potentially exposed the data of over 500.000 users and was promptly patched in March 2018. The company did not check up with any of the developers of the aforementioned 438 apps.

Google is also said to working on improving security elsewhere, including restricting developer access to things such as SMS, call logs, and contact data on Android and add-ons for Gmail. Info that was not exposed includes email messages, Google+ timeline posts, direct messages with other users, phone numbers and "any other type of communication data".

Google came under criticism for refusing to send a top executive to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on 5 September about efforts to counteract foreign influence in United States elections and political discourse.

Apps will be required to inform users what data they will have access to.

These actions are only the beginning, with Google advising they will roll out additional controls and update their policies across more APIs in the coming months.

As for Google+, the search giant won't miss it that much because the site never got off the ground with end users. Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested.

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