Google is shutting down its long-neglected Facebook competitor Google+ following the disclosure of a vulnerability that could have resulted in third-party developers accessing private data from around 500,000 users, the company announced Monday. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place.
Google, however, claims that there is "no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API" and that is has "found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".
Information potentially accessed by the outside developers from 2015 until the fix was limited to name, email address, occupation, gender and age.
The vice president of engineering, Ben Smith, confirmed in a 'Safety and Security' blog post that the company had detected a security bug in March that impacted the profiles of close to half a million users and their information.
Google did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
Google+ API's log data is only for kept two weeks, so it can not confirm which users were impacted by this bug.
In any case, the conclusion is the same: Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, citing challenges in maintaining the service effectively. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we made a decision to sunset the consumer version of Google+. This news comes in the wake of a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed the data of the profile of users.
"None of these thresholds were met here.", she said.
The company will give 10-month period up to next August for the consumers.
But, the company said, "It would continue to offer private Google+ powered networks for businesses now using the software".
Despite that, the company plans to keep Google+ operational as an enterprise product, allowing companies to use it as an internal communication platform for employees.
The company is also stressing its commitment to security - now offering "more fine-grained control" of what account data Google users share with third-party apps.