Project Strobe and the Demise of Google+ → #
Something no one imagined would be happening in 2018, people are talking about Google+.
As part of “Project Strobe”, Google have been going over third-party develop access to Google accounts and Android device data:
Over the years we’ve received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+. So as part of Project Strobe, one of our first priorities was to closely review all the APIs associated with Google+.
This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.
From this investigation, they found a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs:
Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.
Basically, the API allowed third-party developers to a lot of your, and your friends information. Including things marked as private.
This sounds pretty bad. And if this was regarding Facebook or Twitter, there would be quite a level of outrage. However, this is Google+, the platform that no one uses.
Which is why I find this statement quite funny:
We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.
So no one took notice of the security flaws, because no one actually used the platform. Including developers.
But because of these security flaws, and the really low usage numbers. Google have decided to start the process of shutting down the platform.
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+.
To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.
My first thought is, when do we see Google’s next idea of a social network? It’s always funny to see what they think can actually complete with the already established platforms.