Say Goodbye to Google+

By: Emily Otter  | 10/24/2018

Hileman Group is a huge advocate of education, whether it's ongoing professional development or helping high school students figure out what they want to when they grow up. We asked our job shadow, Emily Otter, senior at a local high school, to write a blog post about something she's passionate about. Here, she talks about the Google+ shutdown.

Once upon a time, Google had a dream to create the best social media platform. What followed was a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn that they called Google+. It allowed users to organize their friends in circles by interest or connections, rather than a giant list. It also linked users to other Google pages and YouTube.

Google+ was their fourth try at creating a successful social page for users. The goal was for the site to be compared to Facebook and Twitter. It can be concluded that this goal was not met, seeing as 90% of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds. Not to mention, according to a recent data, there are approximately 2 billion Google+ registered users, but only 395 million that are active.

The Wall Street Journal announced on October 8, 2018 that Google+ will be shut down to consumers due to a security breach. Google spoke out about the security breach minutes later in a blog post.

Google answered our undying question of “Why not tell the world?” They had a justifiable answer in their blog post, “We found no evidence that the developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.” Nonetheless, they did patch the breach (just like any company should do). In the end, about 500,000 users’ data was exposed.

The information to know is this: since 2015, a security bug has allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user accounts. This bug also allowed access to users’ public data along with their and their friends' non-public social media profiles.

Google will be shutting down Google+ by August 2019. Furthermore, the company is looking into improving security protection. They are placing more control on users to authorize what information they choose to share. In addition, Google is updating the “User Data Policy for the Consumer Gmail API” to limit the apps that have entry into Gmail accounts. In upcoming months, they will work on adjusting other APIs, but as of now, the Gmail API was the most important API that dealt with the Google+ breach.

Internet security, is, and always will be, an intensely heated topic. For example, did you know there are over 400 applications that have access to your Gmail account without your consent? Always be aware of what you are agreeing to when granting an app permission to access your accounts. If you think your Gmail account has been hacked, contact Google.

The question to ask is: Are we getting closer to government regulated technology? We guess we will look to Google for that answer.


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