Project Strobe: Google Shuts Down Google+ After Major Security Glitches

Google+ is an Internet-based social network by Google. It is a US-based search giant company for consumers. The company has decided to shut down Google+. They cited that the reasons behind Google plus shutting down is the low user engagement and a software error. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which potentially exposed the data of around 500k. 

The social networking site will be completely shut down by August 2019, to allow users to download and migrate their information. They further stated that the in future Google will be focusing on pitching Google+ for enterprises. This will be a major blow to the reputation of the company as once it was competing with Facebook and now it is on the verge of shutting down.

“Google plus is suitable for the enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organizations” as stated by the company mentioned in its blog post.

Reason Behind The Data Leak

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In Google Plus, Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps via the API. As the company explained, the bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public. Also, this data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender, and age.

The company further added that after reviewing the bug they discovered and immediately patched the bug in March 2018. They believed that it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change. There is no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug or abusing the API. They found no evidence of misuse of any profile data.

Steps Taken By Google To Protect Privacy

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Under the project Strobe, shutting down Google+ is a part of the company’s drive. To make its platform more secure, which started at the beginning of this year. This project is a root and branch review of third-party developer access to Google account. Android device data and of its philosophy around app’s data access.

The main feature of this project was to look at the operation of the privacy control. Platforms where users were not engaging with APIs because of concerns around data privacy. Areas where developers granting overly broad access. Other areas in which there should be tight company policy.

After the news broke out about Google plus shutting down, it can be said that Technology is a two-edged sword and this has got proven at certain intervals of time.