Google+ Shutting Down, Covered Up Security Bug Exposing All Public & Non-Public Profiles

Ryuzaki

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As usual, Google pumped out Google Plus as a bandwagon product just in case it catched on. They tried to incentivize tech users to adopt it early (there were some nice SERP boosts you could get out of Google+ with their hashtags that went completely unacknowledged). But paying for friends means you never have any real friends.

The current word on the street is that Google+ is shutting down as a consumer product. It will be refocused as an enterprise product. Probably some kind of "get your entire company on here and chat and have profiles." Who knows. They should just shut the door on it for good.

This is all coming out because it turns out Google had a security bug in Google+ that let all 3rd party developers get your user profile date. This bug existed from some time in 2015 until March of 2018. They could get your private and public profile data and that of all of your friends:
  • Full names
  • Email addresses
  • Birth dates
  • Gender
  • Profile photos
  • Places lived
  • Occupation
  • Relationship status
Everything and anything you could stuff into your Google+ profile, it was exposed. But Google assures us that the 438 apps that had access did not misuse the data of the 496,951 users exposed (those who installed one of the apps). What was not exposed were your posts and private messages. And your Google Account info is fine too. It was isolated just to Google+ profiles and anyone connected to you if you installed any app.

The real kicker is that, according to an internal memo, they chose not to inform the public about the bug because they didn't want to come under fire alongside Facebook during the election (who were just hacked recently, exposing 50 million accounts). But this was the exact same issue. They gave apps unfettered access to everything (selling data). So instead they covered it up.

To fix their errors they are going to sacrifice Google+ to satiate the masses and are expected to announce a boatload of privacy reforms soon, including restricting Apps and Add-ons to all their products to a small number of developers.

The funniest part of all of this is that the data got out that 90% of Google+ sessions were less than 5 seconds. That's basically all bots and scripted activities to self-promote on there, I'd say.
 

Jared

Breaking the Shackles of a Lifetime of Bummery
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I always thought Google+'s UX was awful. A confusing layout with a bland design, and the whole site just had an isolated "empty" feeling to it. I'm not surprised it failed so miserably.
 
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All of Google's UX is honestly awful outside their search engine. Looks like something engineers come up with it, without regard for normal people.
 

Ryuzaki

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THE END IS NIGH!
------​

You've received this email because you have a consumer (personal) Google+ account or you manage a Google+ page.

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.

See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you're a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You'll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you've used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you're a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you're a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.
 
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Welp, I removed Google+ from my set of social media profiles on my sites and removed the share button too.

This was either another Google blunder or another way they managed to mine a bunch of data. It's hard to think they suck this bad. But they keep doing it. "Hey, let's build another copy cat thing and fail to promote it at all, but let's integrate it into youtube and google accounts and really screw up everything."
 

EyesExist

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Google + was neve rreally beneficial for me beyond 'Image serps'

Guess others had more success with it