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Google+ is closing down

29/10/2018

It has been announced that Google will be closing down their social media platform, Google+, over the next 10 months due to a data breach and very low usage. Google+ was launched in 2011 to try and rival the likes of Facebook and strength the position of the Google brand, however, it has been unable to generate sufficient interest from users or to keep pace with Facebook as it continues to develop.

On the 8th October 2018 Google announced there had been a data breach of up to 500,000 users following a bug in its software. The bug allowed third-party app developers to not only see the affected users’ data, but also their friends’ data. Although Google's own investigations found no evidence that data had been misused, or even that third-party developers were aware of or had exploited the bug, they weren't able to confirm anything for certain due to the fact they only store third-party usage logs for two weeks.

The bug was originally discovered by Google in March, however they refrained from disclosing this information to the public, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is reported that Google's Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed the breach and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t serious enough to necessitate reporting it publicly. The timing of this incident is esepcially poignant since it was all happening behind the scenes while Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, was being questioned in front of the US Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Aside from the data breach, the eventual demise of Google+ has been long anticipated due to its low usage and level of engagement with users. Statisics show that 90% of user sessions last less than 5 seconds, which is pretty conclusive. Although Google are closing down the consumer side of Google+, they are keeping the corporate aspect of the social network that many businesses continue to use for internal communications, whilst also focusing on improving the security of the network at the same time.

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