What is Google's position on Google+

Social networks: Google is discontinuing Google+

The US internet giant Google is closing its social network "Google+". Google manager Ben Smith wrote in a blog post for developers that there were "considerable difficulties" in designing the network to meet user expectations for data protection and privacy. This was the result of a study of various Google products on how they handle user data.

Project strobe

Google started this investigation in the spring under the name "Project Strobe". As part of this project, the company examined its broad portfolio of applications and interfaces to determine whether and how developers of third-party applications get access to customer data - and how this is in line with user expectations. The various APIs that allow applications to access data from Google+ were also checked.

The study confirmed what Google had known for a long time, writes Smith: Despite all the work that Google has put into the development of the social network, it has not really been accepted by users and developers: "Google+ is hardly used: 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds. " In addition, it turned out that it is very time-consuming to meet the increased requirements of users for the protection of their privacy.

Goodbye a security hole

During the check, Google found a bug in an API that allowed apps to access non-public user data such as gender, employment or age. Access to more sensitive data from the Google user account was not possible and the gap was closed in March, emphasizes Smith. Because Google only keeps the logs of API access for two weeks, the extent of the security gap is difficult to assess. Google assumes that up to 500,000 users could likely be affected.

As a result of this investigation, the company decided to close the social network to consumers. Users now have until the end of August 2019 to back up their data. Google plans to provide more information on this over time. As an internal network for companies, Google wants to continue the product and also develop new features. There should also be news about this in the next few days.

Google introduced Google+ in the summer of 2011. The social network was supposed to be the answer of the internet giant on Facebook, which was already very successful back then and had over 700 million users. But the platform could never copy this success. To revitalize the network, Google forced Gmail and Youtube users to create a Google+ account - and withdrew both a few years later. As early as 2014, the impression could arise that Google had lost interest in its social network. Now the group is finally pulling the plug. (vbr)

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