Did you know it was still going?
As social media platforms go, there are a handful of major players standing out from among a countless slew of other websites and apps. Some are niche tools, like J-Date or DateACowboy.com, that cater to a specific target audience. Others, like LinkedIn, are widely known but still function for a somewhat specific business purpose. Of course, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a few others are used by a broad audience of social media consumers.
And then there’s Google+, the MySpace of…well…social media. It’s finally going away (despite earlier reports that it had already shut the doors), not due to a lack of audience but because of a massive data breach.
Why is Google+ shutting down?
Over a period of three years, around 500,000 Google+ users’ information was exposed. The scope of what that term means isn’t very clear at this point, but Google took the pains to patch a vulnerability that left the data open. Unfortunately, Google not only didn’t disclose the breach when it was discovered earlier this year, but they have yet to say which users were affected. The only points are that the vulnerability has been patched, they don’t believe any third-party users compromised the exposed information, and they’re shutting down the consumer-use side of Google+.
When will Google+ shut down?
The closing will take the better part of a year, giving loyal users the chance to salvage any information they want to keep from the platform and delete any content they want removed from their profiles. The internet’s collective reaction, though, seems to be one of cautious amusement at the fact that Google+ wasn’t already defunct some time ago.
The tongue-in-cheek comparison to MySpace holds a stronger similarity, though. The MySpace breach that exposed millions of accounts caused many people to have the same initial reaction–“I still have a MySpace account?”–but if users shared their login credentials from that account to another, hackers may have gained access to it. Google hasn’t identified who or what data was impacted in this breach, but history has shown that if you reused your username and password on another account, there’s an excellent chance someone will access it.