As part of its breach disclosure blog post, Google also announced new privacy features for Google accounts and user data. 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. The company said it had considered whether or not it could accurately identify which users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. This method will better secure third party APIs with Google services, allowing for less data to be given to outside applications.
The consumer version of Google+ will be wound down over 10 months, ending by August, the company said. The breach happened after a software glitch in the site gave outside developers potential access to private profile data including names, email addresses, birth dates, genders, occupations and more.
Google chose not to disclose the flaw out of concern it would trigger regulatory backlash, especially in the wake of criticism against Facebook for its privacy failures, according to the Wall Street Journal, which initially reported the news on Monday (Tuesday NZT). That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence.
The report alleges that the bug became active in 2015, only being discovered by Google and shut down in March of this year. The Google+ bug that's been discovered and disclosed was located in the Google+ People API.
Google did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited to announce it.
Trump Says It's a 'Very Scary Time' in America-For Men
Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation has been thrown into doubt by the accusations, has denied the claims by all three women. Chris Dudley and Dan Murphy said they had never seen the nominee black out at college or behave inappropriately with women.
Finally, app access to Call Logs and SMS on Android are going to be limited moving forward.
All these changes are happening in the coming months, giving users more control over their own data. (There are some exceptions-e.g., voicemail and backup apps.) Developers can find more details in the Google Play Developer Policy Center and in the Help Center.
Google said that a detailed analysis ran over two weeks prior to patching the bug revealed "the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts" may have been potentially affected.
The announcement comes as public scrutiny has intensified around Silicon Valley tech giants' management of user data, among other issues.
The launch of Google+ felt forced, especially since Google rewarded webmasters who integrated the service into their sites and switched the comment system and inbox system on YouTube and other sites to Google+.