The recent security hole in the code for Google’s social media platform, Google Plus, was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ that ended in the decision to phase out the platform. At least for consumers, according to the post on Google blog. Other reasons given are that “it (Google Plus) has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
The security bug allowed app developers to access user data even on accounts marked as private. According to Google, the bug was fixed shortly after discovering it back in March of 2018, and no developers were found to abuse it. So no user data was compromised or misused.
Google has come under great criticism for hiding the security bug from the public, only publicly acknowledging it after an article published in the Wall Street Journal. Exacerbating the situation were the issues still fresh in people’s awareness surrounding Facebook’s own problems with privacy and security. Starting with the misuse of user data by Cambridge Analytica, who were sold the data by an app developer. Then came the recent security breach from an attack that exposed the personal data of over 5o million users.
According to Google, “To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down 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.”