Google’s troubled social network is in the news again (shocking, I know). As Google+ recently gained attention in October for its vulnerability that exposed the data of up to 500,000 users, it was decided to shut down the network permanently in August of 2019. As Google’s answer to Facebook never really gained the traction it desired, this decision was not that surprising.
However, Google announced on Monday that a new bug affected 52.2 million of Google+ users. After this new blunder, Google has decided to move up the closure date to April of 2019. This new bug is thought to be due to a November software update, which gave outside developers access to user data for six days. While Google states that there was ‘no evidence’ of the data being misused, it is quite alarming to hear of another data breach in such close proximity to the previous one.
The information that was exposed consists of names, occupations, and ages. Per Google, no financial data, passwords, or ID numbers were included in the breach. So, what does this mean regarding your profile? In my opinion, I would delete it now if you haven’t already (chances are you aren’t even using it anyways.) Per Google’s Vice President, Ben Smith, “the consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
Google+ never lived up to its hype and with these new breaches, it makes me wonder why they don’t just shut it down now. As a fan of Google, I had concerns about them trying to get into the social network game when I first heard the news of Google+; as they excel in so many areas already, I think they should just leave Facebook’s monopoly on social networking alone. So, join me in saying farewell to Google+, another fallen soldier from our robot overlords.
Smith, Ben. 08 Oct 2018. Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+. Google. Retrieved from https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/project-strobe/.
Nieva, Richard. 10 Dec 2018. Google+ to shut down early after new bug bites 52.2 million users. CNET. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/news/google-bug-affected-52-2-million-people-social-network-to-shut-down-in-april/.