Why Google is shutting down Google Plus

Failure to disclose a software glitch and low number of users among the reasons why Google is winding up its social network site

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, not many wax lyrical about the social network service Google Plus.

That however is not its only problem, after the data security issues that have bogged down social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have finally caught up with Google Plus. In trying to compete with Facebook, the world’s most renowned search engine ended up inheriting the challenges facing the social media world.

These challenges, coupled with a myriad of other factors, have made the Google Plus product untenable. By August 2019, Google Plus will be no more.

On October 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Alphabet Inc. unit that deals with Google Plus discovered, but hid the fact that a bug within the social network system had affected the accounts of “hundreds of thousands” of users.

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According to WSJ, a software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018. The firm however decided against making the information public on advise from its legal and policy staff, WSJ said.

Moments after WSJ published its report, Google announced it will be shutting down Google Plus in a raft of new data security measures. The final nail in the Google Plus coffin is that the multinational tech company discovered that there are significant challenges in creating and maintaining the platform in a manner that meets consumers’ expectations.

The announcement came alongside other revelations of some of the findings of Project Strobe—a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of the philosophy around apps’ data access.

Project Strobe revealed to Google that the bug targeted around 500,000 user accounts, and gleaned data from Google Plus user profiles including name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

The review also enhanced what the company says it has been knowing for a while over the low numbers who use Google Plus. “While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.”

The review also highlighted the low usage and engagement of the social network, as 90 percent of Google Plus user sessions are less than five seconds.

In other changes, Google said it would change how Google grants permissions so as to allow users to regulate and limit what data they want to share.

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