Google to overhaul privacy rules after discovering exposure of user data

Google to overhaul privacy rules after discovering exposure of user data

The social network, which was launched in 2011, was initially supposed to be a response to Facebook and Twitter, but it has ceased to exist outside of a handful of niche communities for years.

Indeed, at one point Google was embedding Google+ profiles into some of its highest-profile services.

Besides low usage, Google+ engagement rates are also defeating, with 90-percent of all sessions lasting for under five seconds, according to Alphabet's subsidiary. Google also introduced a "+1" button for third-party content, which acted in a similar way to Facebook's "Like" button.

Google also noted that the data that was exposed was limited to "optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age".

Google said it found the bug as part of an internal review called Project Strobe, an audit started earlier this year that examines access to user data from Google accounts by third party software developers. However, Smith admits that "the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected".

Google said it couldn't determine which users were impacted by this bug because the API was created to keep logs for only two weeks, and it didn't have access to historical data longer than that.

Google said it had reviewed the issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether it could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take. While found and patched in March 2018, it was not disclosed until today.

The company said that it often notifies users when there are security issues and flaws and user data is affected, but its privacy and data protection office said the bug did not meet the threshold.

In any case, the conclusion is the same: Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, citing challenges in maintaining the service effectively.

Those metrics will likely come as little surprise to anybody familiar with Google+. "Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization".

Along with this, Google will also force app developers to provide more detailed explanations of what it intends to do with your Google Account if it's requesting access to it. The consumer Gmail API, meanwhile, will be subject to tougher new rules, and limits around what can be connected.

Google said Monday that it will phase out Google+ over the next ten months.

To make the closure of the service as seamless as possible, Google says it'll implement a "wind-down" period over the next 10 months with the goal to have everyone off Google+ and officially pull the plug by the end of August 2019.