Here’s why Google is keeping a big update on the down-low.
Perhaps it’s because you don’t use Google+ or never did, or maybe it’s just that Google doesn’t want to publicize the fact that one of their products has suffered yet another security breach — but, there’s very little chance that you’ve heard about the social platform’s early shutdown.
In a blog post, Google followed up their October announcement that Google+ would be shutting down “because of the significant challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations, as well as the platform’s low usage”. Along with maintenance and development concerns, one of the reasons cited for the shutdown was a March 2018 bug that allowed apps access to profile information that users had marked as private, such as name, email address, occupation, gender and age.
A November software update to the platform had a similar bug that impacted approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API. While Google assures users that no third party comprised its systems and that no pertinent data usually involved in financial or identity theft was leaked, the bug prompted Google to move up the shut down date of the failing product.
Originally, Google+ was supposed to close its virtual doors in August 2019, but the date has been moved to April 2019. In addition, all Google+ APIs will disappear in the next 90 days. In reality, this step by Google will go mostly unnoticed, as very few people actually use the platform.
While the issue of users’ security is an obvious problem that should be addressed, perhaps more publicly than it has been, there’s also little conversation about why Google+ never took off in the first place. When it was introduced, what makes social media apps succeed was less defined, but even then, Google+ lacked many of the interactive features that keep users coming back throughout the day, like push notifications and user customization options.
Whatever the reasons for its failure, users should be aware of any privacy issues involving Google+ data. Its recommended that users close any existing accounts. In addition, anyone who uses any social media platform should educate themselves on privacy settings and data breaches that could potentially compromise their personal information.