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Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers after data exposure

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Google is going to shut down the Google+ service (consumer version) on April 2019, because of a 2nd issue (data exposure) with its Google+ API. The decision follows the revelation of a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed users profile data in March 2018.

Approximately 52.5 million users were impacted according to Google, but the company found "no evidence that the app developers, that inadvertently had access for 6 days, were aware of it or misused it in any way." Google itself discovered the issue as part of "standard & ongoing testing procedures" & fixed it within a week, adding that "no third party compromised our systems."

Regardless, Google is moving up the planned consumer version deprecation of its social network. This starts with the Google+ API shutting down within the next 3 months, while Google+ will be closed for general users on April, instead of August 2019.

But the company plans to keep the Google+ service alive for enterprise customers, who use it to facilitate conversation among co-workers.

In addition to closing Google+, Google announced new privacy adjustments for other popular Google services. API changes will limit developers access to data on Android devices & Gmail. Developers will no longer receive call logs & SMS permissions on Android devices & contact interaction data won’t be available through the Android Contacts API. That same also API provided basic interaction data, like who you last messaged, and that permission is also being revoked.

As for the Gmail changes, the company is updating its User Data Policy for the consumer version of the email service. This will limit apps & the scope of their access to user data.

Any developer who has this access will have to undergo security assessments & agree to new rules about data handling, such as not transferring or selling user data for targeting ads, market research, email campaign tracking, or other unrelated purposes.

In the coming days Google will be communicating with parties that rely on the Google+ API, with details available on the Google+ developer page.

Meanwhile, Google is beginning to notify consumer users & enterprise customers that were impacted, with an ongoing investigation to see if there is any potential impact to other Google+ APIs.

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