It seems Google keeps piling on the mess that is its social network. Google+ has long been a ghost town and was going to shut down. Its demise seems to come sooner than expected due to a new bug.

The new bug has affected 52 million users and will cause the social network to shut down four months sooner than expected. The access to its API network will be cut off in the next 90 days. Google had announced in October that it would kill Google+, but its death will now occur in April instead of August.

David Thacker, the V.P Product Management, G Suite wrote,

“We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.”

This shows how careless the team was. It caught such a massive bug in a normal update. Thacker believes app developers had access to the system during this time and is unsure if they intentionally let things fall apart or were unaware of it.

Even Google itself realizes there’s no use saving Google Plus’s life, and they are just waiting for the site to breathe its last breath. So they can finally get rid of its corpse once and for all. It’s as if history is repeating itself. A similar bug brought down the site once, and now another bug is doing the same thing.

Google refuses to learn from its mistakes. It seems the third party app was given access to users’ profiles even though they had made their profiles non-public. This meant the app had access to Google+ users’ name, email address, occupation, and age.

To make things worse, (which at this stage seems impossible), the app could access another Google+ user’s data with whom a person had shared something, but wasn’t made public. There is one saving grace for the company.

Thacker noted in his report the app didn’t have access to extremely sensitive information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or other vital data. Such data is used in securities fraud and other malicious activities.

G Suite administrators continue to plead innocence as they once again argue that they thoroughly check third-party apps. So realistically only trusted APIs could access Google+ and its users. The argument comes back to whether developers knowingly let its app wreak havoc or were careless not to know what had happened.

Google claims the site is good as dead for consumers, but it wants to pump time, energy and money into a business/enterprise edition of Google+. The company is trying to rebrand the social network towards an office/work environment.

Google+ will be used to enhance communication in the workplace, hence increase productivity and efficiency of the work being done. It is being marketed especially to top managers and executives of big companies.

The company is adding features that will help promote cross-platform communication within an organization, will allow adding employees as an entire department, and managers will also be able to review and moderate posts made by employees.

It remains to be seen just how safe and secure the enterprise version of Google+ will be. The search engine giant doesn’t want another scandal on its hand, especially when large organizations are involved.

We all can safely say anyone is hardly going to miss this failed experiment of a social network.

Avatar for Fazeel Ashraf

IT graduate from Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology with a passion for writing. When not reading or writing, I can be found listening to rock and metal or playing some classic jams on my electric guitar. I’m also a big fan of horror movies.

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