Google is shutting down the consumer side of its Google+ operation, following reports the social app exposed half a million users’ data.
According to the tech giant, more than 500,000 Google+ accounts were left exposed to a bug in Google’s software.
This meant third-parties were able to access the users’ information.
Now, Google is letting the “sunset” on Google+, citing its “very low consumer usage”.
In a statement, Google vice president of engineering Ben Smith said the platform continually looks for bugs, and is quick to notify users.
Smith said: “Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues.
“Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice.”
Touching on the breach, Smith said: “Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response.
“None of these thresholds were met here.”
As a result, Smith said Google+ will not be shut down.
“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+, 90 per cent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.
“We decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
Google+ was launched in 2011 as a social platform to compete with the likes of Facebook, however, never truly gained traction with consumers.
According to The BBC, shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet fell by 1.23 per cent following the announcement.