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Google Plus: Halting consumer functions as an aftermath of allegations of user data breach

Google Plus, User Data Breach

Google has officially announced the shutting down of long-dormant consumer arm of its social network – Google Plus in the next 10 months.

Google Plus, User Data Breach
Google Plus shutting down after the use data breach

Unlike any other Google product, Google Plus drowned as a failed social network and effectively halted its consumer functions in 2015, but consumer profiles remained active until the issue concerning user data breach surfaced. Having had a security glitch of revealing User Data, the search giant didn’t make it public for fear of getting caught like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica breach, says the Wall Street Journal.
On the contrary, Google’s spokesperson says that the team didn’t feel the need to make it public because none of the concerned user data was misused and no apparent pool of users had been affected.

“Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds was met here,” the company said in a statement.

However, the company acknowledged the fact that it has less consumer digital footprint and usage than any other social network, and 90 percent of the consumer interactions lasted less than five seconds. The company is looking forward to keeping its enterprise version alive for company workers who use it for internal discussions.

To cool off customers’ anxiety concerning the breach, Google said that it would be providing users more options with regards to which data they share with which app developers. It’s also limiting the developers that can access Gmail data to those with a specific use case in mind that is relevant to the email experience, as well as restricting access to Android contact and call log data to the selected default app for making calls and sending text messages.

Within a couple of hours, Ben Smith, Google’s VP of Engineering, surfaced more information about the security issue, and how it was discovered. A bug was identified during an internal review, called Project Strobe. It existed in one of the site’s API which granted access to information on a user’s profile but hadn’t been marked public.

According to Smith, accounts nearing 500,000 could have been affected, and the data exposed potentially had consumer identities like name, occupation, age etc. – but he assured that none of the user phone numbers or any other information stored on your Google Account were a part of this breach. In addition, Smith is adamant that Project Strobe showed no signs of any abuse in the result or even that the developers using the API were aware of it existed.

Google Plus:

It rolled out in 2011 as a competitor against the rising social platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It had taken a backseat before digital users even started using it.
The failure came as a surprise because Google Plus was backed by Google’s extensive suite, skilled team, strong financial security and multiple optimization features. But none worked and within seven years of its launch, it died – this shows that winning requires a lot more than a few gold stars!

Special Note: Digital Marketers must shuffle their digital options and if they had Google + in their offerings, it’s time to drop it now.

Madiha Ahmed
Madiha Ahmed
Madiha (Yusuf) Ahmed is an Independent Journalist, ideally reports technology updates, social happenings and covers features. Professionally, she is serving as a Manager Content in a Digital Agency and specialises in Content Curation, Strategy and Marketing.

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