Google has finally decided to shut down the business of Google + after a software bug in its servers exposed critical user data to third-party developers. As a result of the data exposure of nearly 496,951 accounts, the business unit of Alphabet Inc. has decided to disable the consumer functionality of the service for the next 10 months.
Sources reporting to Cybersecurity Insiders say that details such as usernames, email addresses, birth dates, gender profile pictures, occupation, places they live & lived and relationship status were exposed to hackers due to the server vulnerability caused by the bug.
The bug is reported to be a part of a flaw in an Application Programming Interface (API) which Google created to help app developers access profile and contact info of users who sign-up for the service.
Data related to posts, messages, search history, phone numbers or G-suite content wasn’t exposed by the flaw said the internet juggernaut.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google head Mr. Sundar Pichai did not want to notify the users after an internal committee decided to do so.
Perhaps the disclosure could have triggered the attention of the White House and would have invited comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user info to UK based data firm Cambridge Analytica in 2015.
Conceivably Google did not want to invite the attention of the latest GDPR in the UK and so opted to keep its users in dark about the Google + data breach.
Note 1- The software glitch of Google + is said to have exposed info of users visiting the site between 2015 and March 2018.
Note 2- News of the bug sent shares of Alphabet Inc tumbling down to as much as 2.2% to $1,142 on Monday Afternoon.
Note 3- Google + was launched seven years ago and the poor fan following for the app could also have made the web search giant take a decision to shut it down.
Note 4- Meanwhile, a litigation filed by a group named “Google You Owe Us” by online product reviewing platform “Which?” has been put on hold by the British High Court. The lawsuit accuses Google of keeping a track of 4 million British iPhone Users between 2011 to 2012. It’s said that the California based tech giant kept a track of people by categorizing them as per their race, gender, physical and mental health, political affiliations, se$$al interests and social class. It’s said that the online services provider later sold all this info to marketing and advertising firms.
Note 5- The lawsuit claims a £3 billion compensation where each iPhone user is said to get £ 780 each (appx).