Google's failed attempt at a social media network to rival Facebook is now shutting down for good, after a data breach of private user information prompted the search giant to tighten up its privacy policies.
While conducting a review of the platform in March, Google discovered and solved a bug exposed to third-party developers that meant apps were given access to profile information that had not been marked as public. This included data such as name, email, address, occupation, gender and age.
No data was misused while the breach was active, however it is thought that at least 500,000 users were affected. Google said it had not seen fit to notify any users of the breach, as none of the thresholds requiring such an action were met in this instance.
Shares in Google's parent company Alphabet closed down 1 per cent last night.
Google+ will now only remain operative as an internal business network for subscribers to its G-Suite set of programmes, with all public user profiles to close by next August.
Google said yesterday in a blog post the consumer version of Google+ only has limited usage and engagement these days, with 90 per cent of sessions on the site lasting less than five seconds.
"While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps," said Ben Smith, Google's vice president of engineering.
"The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+."