Google had already call Google+ quits earlier in the year but now that it has found another bug in the social network, it is bringing the closedown of Google+ closer. It says the bug affected as many 52.5 million users, exposing sensitive data such as name, email address, occupation, and age.
The data was exposed to third-party developers and even data of accounts set to private were also affected.
The bug, discovered ‘recently’, was introduced to the network in November.
In October, Google decided to close Google+ to the public after finding data on 500,000 of its users had been exposed.
As a result of this latest find, it said, the closedown had been brought forward.
‘With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shutdown of all Google+ APIs [application programming interfaces]; this will occur within the next 90 days,’ wrote David Thacker, head of product management for G Suite, Google’s range of apps offered to businesses.
‘In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sun-setting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019.
‘While we recognise there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.’
Mr. Thacker revealed that the bug was found by Google staff during routine testing and that there was no evidence it had been exploited by bad actors.
Google+ has had to deal with the infamy of being a failed social network used by only a few people. This recent news further dents its reputation, if it had any.
Sundar Pichai is being quizzed by Congress Tuesday.
However, October’s admission of exposed data was poorly received after it was revealed the company knew about the issue in March. Internal memos suggested it initially chose not to tell the public about the issue, fearing the possibility of regulatory scrutiny.
This latest admission comes a day before Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai appears in Washington to face a Congressional committee.
The hearing is to discuss concerns of political bias across Google’s products, but will almost certainly stray into other areas of the company’s work such as its ambitions in China, antitrust controversies, and complaints about how the company treats its female employees.