Monday, October 8, 2018

Google Plus to Shut Down. Both Remaining Users Pissed.

To understand this post, you need to know a bit of history.

Remember FriendFeed? A very stable service that was bought by Facebook in 2009 - not for the service, but for the people and the technology?

Well, by 2010 FriendFeed had an unusual bit of instablity, which prompted a TechCrunch article by MG Siegler entitled "FriendFeed Goes Down Hard. Both Remaining Users Pissed." This elicited a reaction from the FrindFeed faithful (see my blog post at the time), but people still thought of FriendFeed as a "ghost town."

And by 2015, FriendFeed was pining for the fjords.

Which brings us to Monday, October 8, 2018, the day that the Wall Street Journal ran an article,

That's behind a paywall.

But TechCrunch (again) stepped in to report what was going on.

Google is about to have its Cambridge Analytica moment. A security bug allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user profile data since 2015 until Google discovered and patched it in March, but decided not to inform the world. When a user gave permission to an app to access their public profile data, the bug also let those developers pull their and their friends’ non-public profile fields. Indeed, 496,951 users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status were potentially exposed, though Google says it has no evidence the data was misused by the 438 apps that could have had access.

Because the word "ghost town"...

...has attached itself to Google+, the news later in the article was not surprising. It seems that this security issue was the final straw.

Google+ will cease all its consumer services while winding down over the next 10 months with an opportunity for users to export their data while Google refocuses on making G+ an enterprise product.

Google confirmed this in a blog post about Project Strobe, which apparently has to do with blinding people so they can't see Google advertisements. Or sumfin.

The [security] 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.

At the same time, we have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies. Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. We will share more information in the coming days.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Google has shut down a lot of services over the years. While many are talking about Google Reader, Google Wave, and Orkut, there have been others - iGoogle, Google Talk, Google Health, Google Buzz, Jaiku, Google Answers, and many more. Personally, the one that hit me was the cessation of Neven Vision's police offerings after Google acquire it.

And so I'm writing about all of this...on Blogger. Perhaps I should repurpose it as a tymshft post.
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