A data scandal involving as many as 500,000 Google+ users has proven to be the final straw for Alphabet, prompting a decision to pull the plug on the consumer iteration of its failed social media platform.
On Monday, it was revealed that private profile data owned by in excess of half a million members had been passed onto hundreds of external developers, triggering a rapid response from Google execs and eliciting a concurrent pledge to strengthen data sharing protocols.
A Google review of its data sharing practices with third party applications uncovered the serious loophole back in March, whereupon it was promptly shutdown in a move preceding today’s closure despite no evidence emerging of any developer having exploited the vulnerability or misused data in any way.
The dramatic response follows a six-month communications blackout in which Google opted to sit on details of the breach, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that this was in apparent fear of inviting further scrutiny by regulators amidst widespread popular concern at the time emanating from the Cambridge Analytica saga.
For its part, Google claims that the specifics of this particular breach fell below its criteria fell below the standards required for disclosure.
Google+ launched amidst much fanfare in 2011 but after a brief initial surge quickly fell by the wayside in the face of already well-established competition.