Google+ is officially shutting down

Google to shut down Google+ after users’ data exposed

Google just announced that it will sunset the company's social networking service Google+ for consumers in the coming 10 month period.

The Journal reported that the Google+ breach exposed Google's "concerted efforts to avoid public scrutiny of how it handles user information" at a time when regulators are the public are trying to do more to hold tech companies to account.

Wall Street Journal also reported that Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users as it would result in an immediate regulatory interest.

Ben Smith, Google's vice president of engineering, confirmed in a blog post the company had detected a "bug" in March that impacted the profiles of as many as 500,000 Google Plus users. The exposed data includes occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of many users.

Google's excuse is that it found no evidence of any of the data being misused, however, it also has no way of being sure of that.

"The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations".

The news comes as Silicon Valley companies have been increasingly scrutinized for their data collection practices.

Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by President Trump's 2016 USA election campaign, has hurt the shares of the world's biggest social network and prompted multiple investigations in the United States and Europe.

US First Lady Melania Trump wraps up solo African tour in Egypt
She closed her tour in Egypt by touring the pyramids and the Great Sphinx to highlight US -backed preservation efforts there. Trump said she didn't hear the president make the remarks and that none of her hosts during the trip brought up the topic.

Google now joins both Twitter and Facebook in disclosing a privacy breach in the past three weeks.

Google is also making some changes to its Gmail API and is limiting Android apps that request to receive Call Log and SMS permissions.

Google said Monday that it will phase out Google+ over the next ten months. Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly is expected to take the hot seat in another congressional hearing after the U.S. midterm elections in November. In 2011, it found that Google broke its own privacy policies when it introduced its Buzz social network - a precursor to Google+.

Google+ never caught on as a social network.

However, Google+ failed to gain traction beyond a small fan base, despite multiple tweaks that shifted the focus on photo sharing, communities and other high-engagement applications. Google found out that the service had low user interaction as 90% of sessions ended in less than 5 seconds.

In a statement, Google officials said there were other reasons for withholding public disclosure of the data exposure.

Many have long suspected that Google+ was in its final days, but nearly no-one could have predicted it would end like this.

"None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the firm said in its blog post.

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