Google is going to shut down the customer variation of Google+ over the next 10 months, the business composes in an article today. The choice follows the discovery of a formerly concealed security defect that exposed users’ profile information that was fixed in March 2018.
Google states that Google+ currently has “low use and engagement” and that about 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than 5 seconds. Still, the search giant plans to keep the service alive for business consumers who utilize it to facilitate discussion amongst colleagues. New features will be rolled out for that usage case, the company says. Google is concentrating on a “secure corporate social media network,” which is odd considering this statement comes along with news that the business left profile information vulnerable.
In addition to sunsetting Google+, the business announced new privacy changes for other Google service. API modifications will restrict developers’ access to information on Android devices and Gmail. Developers will no longer get call log and SMS permissions on Android gadgets and contact interaction information will not be available through the Android Contacts API. That same API provided basic interaction data, like who you last messaged, which permission is also being revoked.
When It Comes To the Gmail changes, the search engine firm is upgrading its User Data Policy for the consumer version of the e-mail service. This will limit apps and the scope of their access to user information. Ben Smith, Google fellow and VP of engineering, writes: “Only apps directly enhancing e-mail functionality– such as e-mail clients, e-mail backup services and performance services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services)– will be authorized to access this information.”
Any developer who has this access will be need to go through security assessments and consent to new guidelines about information dealing with, like not transferring or selling user data for targeting advertisements, marketing research, e-mail campaign tracking, or other unrelated purposes.
Google previously tried to quell privacy issues earlier this year after The Wall Street Journal detailed how common it is for third-party app developers to be able to read and evaluate users’ Gmail messages. At the time, Suzanne Frey, the director of the business’s security, trust, & privacy division of Google Cloud, stressed that users ought to review what apps have access to their accounts and revoke it if needed. Last year, Google announced that it would stop its long-standing practice of scanning the contents of private Gmail users for marketing purposes. Obviously, the business still has lots of information it can target ads against, like Search history, YouTube views, and other Chrome actions.
These most recent changes are being credited to an internal Google effort called Project Strobe, which included a review of “third-party developer access to Google account and Android gadget data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access,” according to Google.