Google Plus to shut down by next summer

The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration

The company said that "while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps". A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google's legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger "immediate regulatory interest" and invite comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Some infosec bods have taken Google's side, arguing disclosure is only needed if there's evidence of a security breach. The lawsuit was blocked in the High Court on Monday.

Earlier this year, Google started a project to review third-party developer access to Google accounts through the use of APIs.

Today Google announced a bug inside the Google+ developer platform that allowed some basic user information to be viewed without authorized access; information such as: names, email addresses, ages and current occupations.

Google made the announcement in a blog post after the Wall Street Journal broke news of the vulnerability.

For Google, a data privacy reckoning may finally come as a result of a service that it admits nearly no one uses much anymore.

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Google said today that it has chose to shut down the consumer version of the Google+ app. Google said it immediately fixed the security flaw and had not uncovered evidence that the information was mishandled by any of hundreds of third-party developers that may have had access to the user data. The company says that it also will cut back on the amount of data belonging to Android and Gmail users that is available to outside developers.

A Google spokesperson cited "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations" along with "very low usage" as the reasons for the move.

For those wanting to save their Google+ data before the network sunsets, this can be done through Google Takeout while logged in with your Google account. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data. If an app wants access to a Calendar and Drive documents, for example, you can opt to share one but not the other.

Facebook introduced a feature that allowed users to connect their accounts with their profiles on dating, music and other apps.

Google did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited to disclose it. So, for example, your default messaging app will have access to SMS permissions, and the default dialer can access Call Logs.

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