Google+, pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus, is an Internet-based social network that is owned and operated by Google.
The service, Google's fourth foray into social networking, experienced strong growth in its initial years, although usage statistics have varied, depending on how the service is defined. Three Google executives have overseen the service, which has undergone substantial changes leading to a redesign in November 2015.
In October 2018, Google announced that it was shutting down Google+ for consumers, citing low user engagement and a software error, first reported by The Wall Street Journal that potentially exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of users. Google first indicated that Google+ would operate until August 2019, allowing users to download and migrate their information. The company subsequently moved the date up to April.
The company said 52.5 million people were affected by a bug in a November software update. The latest bug allowed app developers to access profile information not marked public. Google said it detected the issue during regular testing and fixed it within a week of discovery.
Google disclosed a similar bug in October that time the company said it "discovered and immediately patched" a bug in March 2018, which potentially allowed developers to access profile data that wasn't public, including usernames, email addresses, occupations, and ages. The bug reportedly affected as many as 500,000 accounts.
The company said no third parties compromised its systems, and Google hasn't found evidence developers misused the information or were aware of it.
With is the second embarrassing privacy issue in two months, Google+ will shut down in April 2019. Two months ago, Google said it planned to shutter Google+ in August. Meanwhile, API access for developers will be shut down within the next 90 days.
On Monday, the company reiterated that Google+ had low usage and acknowledged there are significant challenges with "maintaining a successful product."