Google shutting down social network four months early

Google. Image: YouTube

Dec. 11 (UPI) — The Google+ social network will shut down in April instead of August, the company said Monday, due to the discovery of a bug that potentially affects 52.5 million users.

Google announced in September it would shut down its social network. On Monday, the company said it would accelerate the process.

“We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API [application program interface],” a company statement said.

Google added that the error, which revealed non-public information — including users’ names, genders, birthdays and occupations — was introduced, detected and fixed within a week in November. Financial information or passwords were not released, and no third-party developers compromised Google’s systems. Data was exposed to more than 400 third-party users.

“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused,” Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering, wrote in October.

Beyond the security problems, Google acknowledged that its social media network never achieved widespread adoption like Twitter and Facebook.

“The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” Smith wrote.


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