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Google has been trying to gain a foothold in social networking for years, going all the way back to the tragically flawed Google Buzz in 2010.

In response to the story, BuzzFeed News tech reporter Ryan Mac declared, "The story here isn't really the potential data breach (which may affected hundreds of thousands) or that Google is shutting down Google+".

The API flaw allowed third-party app developers to access profile and contact information that chose to sign into the apps via Google.

Interestingly, the company released a statement on its personal blog page that it's terminating Google+ services, moments after a Wall Street Journal report exposed the breach, which reportedly is set to have affected over 500,000 users on Google+.

Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

We have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies. In fact, usage is pretty minimal on the site, with "90 percent of Google + user sessions" being "less than five seconds".

The data involved was limited to optional profile fields, including name, age, gender, occupation and email address, Google said.

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The Wall Street Journal, reported that they have reviewed a memo prepared by Google's legal and policy staff, which indicated that disclosing the data breach could lead to scrutiny by government regulatory agencies. The bug was patched in March 2018, but only detailed now.

'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+'.

As many as 438 developers "may have used" the API in question, which could potentially impact up to 500,000 people, according to Google. As you can see from the above screenshots, instead of just offering a master "Allow" button that gives the third-party access to various items, the new permission box will be more granular, details each data type at length, and provide users with the ability to allow or deny each thing. Over the course of this slow shutdown, they'll let you know of ways to download and migrate your data from it.

The private data of almost half a million Google+ users was exposed to third-party developers, and Google failed to notify anyone. Also in recent weeks, Google has been strongly criticized about building a search engine that would censor information as part of a possible-entry into China.

What's probably more interesting to most users is that the advertising giant opted to not disclose the issue.

Google has thus far been able to defer much of the criticism to Facebook and Twitter, but the Google+ bug may thrust it further into the spotlight.


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