Google plans to shutter its Google+ social network for consumers, citing its limited adoption with users. The tech giant announced the decision at the same time that it disclosed that the privacy of up to a half-million Google+ accounts could have been affected by a “bug.”
The company says it discovered and patched the issue in March but decided not to disclose it immediately. It said it had no evidence that any third-party developer was aware of the bug or had misused profile data.
Still, timing is everything:
“They were worried about the repercussions of coming forward with this information,” [Wall Street] Journal reporter Douglas MacMillan told NPR. “Earlier this year, right at the time they discovered this, the Facebook Cambridge Analytica data breach had just happened, there’s a lot of regulator scrutiny of Facebook and tech companies and how they’re handling data, and internally, they were worried about being pulled into this conversation in a bigger way.”
This is not the first social network Google has killed, either; Orkut, a service developed by a Google employee in his spare time, was put out of its misery in 2014.