Google announced Monday it’s shutting down its ill-fated social networking site Google+ earlier than anticipated after another massive data leak hit millions of users.
The new bug “impacted approximately 52.5 million users,” the tech giant said in a blog post. The bug exposed a myriad of profile details to developers, including names, emails, ages, job information, schools attended and relationship status. Google said the bug stemmed from a November software update.
“No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way,” Google VP David Thacker said in the post.
Google+ will now shut down in April 2019 — months ahead of its originally planned August 2019 end date.
Google announced its plans to shutter Google+ only two months ago, following another data leak the company failed to notify the public about for several months. That bug allowed third-party app developers to access Google+ accounts since 2015 — an issue Google wasn’t aware of until this past March. Google decided against notifying users because it would bring the company “into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” according to an internal memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
Google+, for those that are unfamiliar, was the company’s failed attempt to take on Facebook earlier this decade. Google admitted in October the site was unable to keep the attention of its users, with more than 90 percent of user sessions lasting no longer than five seconds.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to address U.S. Congress on Tuesday, amid growing concerns the company will reenter China with a censored search engine.