Google has bad news for those who are still using Google+: you only have ten months to “enjoy” the app as they are sunsetting the consumer version of the network. This is one of the four findings and actions that they are doing under Project Strobe, their “root-and-branch review” of third-developer access to our Google accounts and Android device data. This also comes after the news that there was an unnoticed security glitch between 2015 and early 2018 which Google is now dealing with.
So basically the biggest news is that potentially half a million people’s personal information shared on Google+ may have been exposed during this security glitch. Google says they were able to patch the bug in March 2018 but they decided not to publicly discuss the issue at that time since it didn’t reach the threshold for public disclosure. They determined that even though possibly up to 438 apps may have used the compromised API, there weren’t any developers that were aware or abused and misused it.
The consequence though is that Google has decided to just make Google+ for enterprise customers and the consumer version will be discontinued. The good news for the few people who actually use it is that you will have 10 months to download and migrate all your data until it finally becomes no more by August 2019. They will be providing additional information in the months to come, including how they will be using Google+ more for enterprise.
The other findings and subsequent actions that resulted from the Project Strobe study include bringing more granular Google Account permissions. Instead of seeing all in just one screen, you’ll have to grant permission one at a time. It’s more troublesome but if users want better control over which of their data is shown and used, then it probably has to be this way.
Google will also be limiting the apps that will have access to your consumer Gmail data. They will grant API access only to those that are related to enhancing email functionality. The same with SMS, Contacts and Phone permissions, Google will be limiting third-party apps’ access. They will also be rolling out more controls and update policies across their various APIs so watch out for more announcements soon.