Google+ Shutting Down for Consumers After Major Security Breach

Google has announced that it will be shutting down Google+ for consumers over the next 10 months. The decision has been made following a major security lapse that has exposed user’s data and as many as 5 lakh profiles have been affected. The security flaw was first discovered in March 2018 and was later remedied by the company.

Google has further stated in an official blog post that Google+ currently has low usage and user engagement and around 90% of the users spend less than 5 seconds on the site. However, the company has decided to keep the service running for enterprises that use the platform to facilitate conversations among co-workers. New features are scheduled to be rolled out that includes more stringent security features to avoid security lapses in the future.

In addition to shutting down Google+ for consumers, Google has also announced new privacy adjustments for it other products to prevent data breaches. The new features include API changes that will limit the access of data on Android devices and Gmail to developers. Developers will no longer receive call logs and SMS permissions on Android devices and contacts interaction data also won’t be available via Android Contacts API. This is a big shock because we considered Google as an unhackable web platform. If you are running any Google products we recommend to have some cyber essentials security software so that you can be double sure about the security of your systems.

Talking about the changes to Gmail, Google is updating its User Data Policy for consumers. This updated policy will limit the access of user data to developers. Ben Smith, Google fellow and VP of Engineering, said, “Only apps directly enhancing email functionality — such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services) — will be authorized to access this data.”

Any developer who gets access to any user data from now on will have to undergo security assessments and have to agree to new rules of data sharing like not transferring or selling user data for ads, market research, email campaigns, and other such activities.

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