Google shuts down Google

Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it

Google on Monday said it has chose to shut down its social media network, Google+. In the meantime, Google says users should stay tuned for more information on how to download their data from the site, should they so desire. Google said it hadn't found any evidence that "any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused". "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the company said.

Shares of its parent company Alphabet closed down 1 percent at $1155.92 following the latest in a run of privacy issues to hit big US tech companies. In addition, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface, or API, that allowed possible access to the data, according to Google.

"Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network", Google said.

Following this report being published, Google announced that it found the security hole in part thanks to something the company is calling Project Strobe.

Some of that qualifies as legally protected personally identifiable information, and its exposure could trigger scrutiny from federal and state regulators, including some who have probed Google before on similar issues. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90% of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

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But the company has said that other information, such as phone numbers and social media posts, was not put at risk and that it has no evidence that any of the data was improperly collected by outsiders.

Google+, like Google's previous social networking efforts Orkut, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Lively, and Buzz, was not a stellar success for the company.

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

The WSJ report and Google blog both agree that Google discovered the bug in spring of 2018, although the motivation for what happened afterwards differs. However, Google claims that this vulnerability went unnoticed and apparently no third-party was able to exploit the vulnerability to access user date.

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