back to article Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

Google has surprised Google+ users – all two of them – by vowing to shutter the service over the next ten months in the wake of a potential data leak. In what has become an all-too-familiar scenario, the decision is subject to claim and counter-claim: The Wall Street Journal today alleged that Google covered up a programming …

  1. beep54
    Facepalm

    Whoops.

    “90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.” I.e., how did I get this page? That said, a lot of gamers and a not insignificant number of others are going to be pissed.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Whoops.

      Surprised it's not 99%+. I took a look as part of a social media course. Never used again. I think that Google will secretly be pleased to be able to shut it down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        IT Angle

        Re: Whoops.

        I took a look as part of a social media course.

        Oh god, that sounds horrible. My sympathies to you.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Whoops.

      "That said, a lot of gamers and a not insignificant number of others are going to be pissed."

      They'll get over it, the same way they have to get over a woman being the new Dr.Who.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Whoops.

        When did Tom Baker have sex change?

      2. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Re: Whoops.

        "they have to get over a woman being the new Dr.Who."

        But will they ever get over her being from Yorkshire?

        https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-entertainment/nobody-told-us-shed-be-from-fking-yorkshire-say-outraged-doctor-who-fans-20181008178117

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Whoops.

          "they have to get over a woman being the new Dr.Who."

          But will they ever get over her being from Yorkshire?

          https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-entertainment/nobody-told-us-shed-be-from-fking-yorkshire-say-outraged-doctor-who-fans-20181008178117

          Lots of planets have a north. (After Christopher Eccleston I suppose it was in the interests of balance.)

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: Whoops.

            Lots of planets have a north. (After Christopher Eccleston I suppose it was in the interests of balance.)

            I'm trying to guess whether the downvoter was from Lancashire (like Eccleston) or from Yorkshire...

            Edit: suddenly it all becomes clear: the downvote is from Eccleston!

        2. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Whoops.

          But will they ever get over her being from Yorkshire?

          Could be worse. Could be Scots.

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Whoops.

      Yeah sorry I accidently clicked the Google+ link from Gmail and close it after a few seconds of realising.

    4. Flakk Silver badge

      Re: Whoops.

      That said, a lot of gamers and a not insignificant number of others are going to be pissed.

      Nah, we use Discord. And I don't know where the Dr. Who shade is coming from. I though Joanna Lumley was fantastic!

  2. Oh Homer
    Paris Hilton

    "sunsetting" ... lol!

    Read Google's blog, it's hilarious.

    It's classic spin. Announce something that is in reality only negative, but using positive terms. They're "protecting", "improving", "support[ing]" and "strengthen[ing]", allegedly.

    Right, I'm off to "sunset" my Google account. Might as well get ahead of the curve, to save any further surprises when Google inevitably pulls the plug on whatever else of theirs I stupidly depend on.

    Oh well, goodbye dear misspelt googol.

    There late was One within whose subtle being,

    As light and wind within some delicate cloud

    That fades amid the blue noon's burning sky,

    Genius and death contended. None may know

    The sweetness of the joy which made his breath

    Fail, like the trances of the summer air

    ~ Shelley

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

      Well, while we're quoting Shelley, this extract seems apposite:

      The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

      And on the pedestal, these words appear:

      My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

      Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

      1. fedoraman
        Coat

        Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

        If it was Works, then you're probably thinking of Microsoft.

        I'll get me coat....

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

      I'll tell you what the spin is... They want to add Google+ to the Google Graveyard, and this is an excuse to do that.

      Rather annoying, since for the first time ever I regularly went to Google+ to read about FUZIX.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

        Since Motorolla have not seen fit to update my phone I will not be bating any breath waiting for the ability to uninstall the Google+ app, along with all the rest I have only been able to disable. I can't even disable Google Now even though I never use it. The bloatware is incredible.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

          Muscleguy,

          That is a problem with Google as a company. They are just consistently awful at customer service. I don't think they even get the concept of customer relations. It's why I don't think they succeed at hardware, and have so far been restricted to sales to techies.

          They first sold the Nexus phones with no facilities for dealing with returns or repairs. Or having dealt with tarrifs and VAT on international shipping. That's just fucking amateur-hour. There's just no excuse for a company that was turning over tens of billions a year at the time.

          So building unremovable apps into their software, and not even providing for their deletion when they kill the service is just par for the course.

          Google do some good stuff, but they're not what I'd call reliable.

          They regularly kill services with little to no notice and they're always making changes with massive business effects to search and mapping (again with little to no notice).

          They sometimes make Apple look outward-looking and communicative... Can you call a whole company autistic?

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

      I remember getting so many downvotes from Google+ fans when I said Google would do this a few years ago. It was obvious that when it failed to get anywhere near Facebook they'd find an excuse to kill it off. I'm surprised it's taken so long.

      They launched it with lots of hype, and I actually think it was way better than Facebook too. The circles system was a far better way of controlling your privacy. That's privacy from other users of course, you have none from Google and Facebook. The difference is though that Google have hoovered up the world's personal data and not spaffed it all over the interwebs via a shitty API, unlike FB.

      They tried to force everyone with a Gmail account, Android sign-in or Google login to have a G+ account many years ago. And the writing was on the wall from the day they de-linked them again, because users resisted - and I think quite a lot were actively turning it off. When you can't even force a product one users (even one that's better) it's time to give up on it.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

        They tried to force everyone with a Gmail account, Android sign-in or Google login to have a G+ account many years ago.

        Google + was a effectively a side-effect of the single sign-on that Google developed and has since, successfully rolled out. While it did have some loyal groups, it was never going to be able to replace Facebook, because for people already using Facebook it didn't offer anything really new, and it was unlikely to appeal to those who didn't want to use a "social network".

        In other news: messengers have been replacing networks for the last couple of years. But no one in the West has really figured how to make money from them. Google has, again, developed usable but lacklustre apps (Allo and Duo), but more importantly worked on the infrastructure (WebRTC and Messages) so that Hangouts for G-Suite makes sense for corporates.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

        They tried to force everyone with a Gmail account, Android sign-in or Google login to have a G+ account many years ago. And the writing was on the wall from the day they de-linked them again, because users resisted

        I think most the problem was trying to force users to use their Google+ idents on Youtube.

        Considering the Grade A+++ unsecured facility nuthouse, nobody, including the nuts wanted other headcases and left-ear people taking it into their heads to stalk them, even on an account they hardly never used like Google+.

        I'll miss Google+ for those occasional sign in demands where otherwise I'd have to acquire a new account or get a Facebook one.

        Come to think of it, this decision actually helps Facebook, they should rethink immediately.

  3. Tim99 Silver badge
    Coat

    Google+ users

    A service for people who thought that Google didn't have enough data about you, your friends, and casual acquaintances?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Google+ users

      Which is what everyone was concerned about and thus, not using it. Rumors of them reading everything (well, they do have that reputation) didn't help Google+ at all.

      Is there anyone in this world that actually trusts Google? Or while we're at it.. Facebook?

      1. gv
        Boffin

        Re: Google+ users

        I trust them 110% with my cat photos.

        1. sandman

          Re: Google+ users

          Me too. Oh, wait, I don't have a cat.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google+ users

            Google knew you didn't have a cat before you did.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google+ users

          I trust them 110% with my cat photos.

          Hmm, like a touch of the cat, do you? Not sure I'd want those photos out there...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google+ users

        Which is what everyone was concerned about and thus, not using it.

        I wish that were true. In reality people weren't using it because all their friends (for some online definition of 'friends') were on Facebook.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Google+ users

          All my friends are on Facebook? Gosh, is that where they went - I wondered why I haven't seen any of them for a long time ... like I care, most of them are learning to speak Russian these days.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google+ users

        Yep, I do, their privacy policy is very clearly worded, and they do exactly as they so they do in clear terms.

        Unlike Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, who all do the same, but hide behind complicated privacy policies (Apple, Microsoft), or just ignore it and do what the hell they want (Facebook).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google+ users

      A few years ago a read/saw an item that defined all the social media outlets in terms of donuts along the lines of

      Facebook: I'm eating a donut

      Twitter: #donuts!

      Instagram: Here's a picture of the donut I'm eating

      Pinterest: My donut recipe

      Foursquare: I bought donuts here

      ...

      etc

      ....

      and

      Google+: I'm a Google employee who likes donuts

      which I felt summed it up perfectly!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Google+ users

        The problem with that Donut joke is that the Google employees weren't using it either. One of their chief marketing dudes once made an announcement on his Facebook page, and when El Reg checked he didn't even have a G+ page. That was back when they were still trying to sell G+, before the last 5 years when they'd given up.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Google+ users

      A service for people who thought that Google didn't have enough data about you, your friends, and casual acquaintances

      Like what? .... “name, email address, occupation, gender and age” stuff that is readily available on Facebook and Linkedin to advertisers and anyone with a little brain. Everyone out there already has this information from pawned accounts worldwide. You really think that shutting Google+ down will fix anything?

  4. Simon Brady

    Absence of evidence

    ...is not evidence of absence. According to the WSJ article:

    During a two-week period in late March, Google ran tests to determine the impact of the bug, one of the [unnamed WSJ sources] said. It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. [...] Because the company kept a limited set of activity logs, it was unable to determine which users were affected and what types of data may potentially have been improperly collected, the two people briefed on the matter said.

    So it might in fact be true that the vulnerability was fixed before it was exploited. But the claim "Google know for sure no harm was done, therefore they had no obligation to tell their customers" simply isn't justified on the face of what we know. The hypocrisy is indeed strong here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Absence of evidence

      "Because the company kept a limited set of activity logs, it was unable to determine which users were affected and what types of data may potentially have been improperly collected"

      Are we to believe that the All Seeing Eye of Google somehow turned a blind eye to these "activity logs'?

      Google (and Facebook) that gather up every last bit of data that they can slurp but miraculously keep no data points that could help determine amount of users affected or what data may have been "improperly collected"?

      I for one actually believe those bold statements because by Google (and Facebook) not keeping track of those data points gives them Plausible Deniability.

      Just like the plethora of scam websites that trick users into installing malicious apps that use Google analytics and are protected by Googles CAPTCHA software to thwart detection by web scrapers.

      Complicit.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Absence of evidence

        "are protected by Googles CAPTCHA software to thwart detection by web scrapers."

        Surprised that Google haven't been taking to court over their own web crawler being able to bypass CAPTCHA to allow it to index pages, but CAPTCHA blocking rival search engine's crawlers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Absence of evidence

      >> The hypocrisy is indeed strong here

      Especially given that Google is so ready to publish any security bugs they find in other companies' software, sometimes without giving them a chance to fix the problem first.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Still,

        "If this were a bug in Facebook . . "

        You know things are bad if you have to use Facebook as a positive reference.

        1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

          Re: Still,

          "You know things are bad if you have to use Facebook as a positive reference."

          Sounds like a new corollary of Godwin's Law (common use, not original)!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Absence of evidence

      But the claim "Google know for sure no harm was done, therefore they had no obligation to tell their customers" simply isn't justified on the face of what we know.

      It's Google we're talking about. So rather than "absence of evidence", it's more a case of "abstinence of evidence.

    4. DougS Silver badge

      What else are they hiding?

      If they didn't think 500K users "met their internal thresholds" for notifying users of a breach, what is that threshold? 5 million? 500 million?

      This shows we can't even trust Google to reveal a breach of our data when it happens - and of all the platforms to have your data stolen from, Google is by far the worst due to the amount of data they have and the difficulty in avoiding them due to their advertising tentacles that extend to every corner of the web.

      So what is the GDPR penalty for this breach, and how many EU users have to be compromised for Google to be fined into bankruptcy?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What else are they hiding?

        If they did indeed shut it down in spring, then GDPR would probably not have been in effect.

        I reckon something else might still apply, but probably not that.

  5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Sounds like a non-trivial task to un-pick everything they put Plus' hooks into.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      They are only shutting down the public side, the comment system backend will remain.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    First nail in the G+ coffin...

    Was Google's absolute insistence that you had to have it, if you had an Android phone, Gmail, or YouTube. Look at when Apple put U2 on everyone's phone. Nobody likes being forced.

    Heck, IIRC Gmail became popular BECAUSE you couldn't just waltz up and get one, you had to be invited.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: First nail in the G+ coffin...

      "Look at when Apple put U2 on everyone's phone. Nobody likes being forced to listen to U2."

      FTFY

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: First nail in the G+ coffin...

        "Look at when Apple put U2 on everyone's phone. Nobody likes being forced to listen to U2."

        Nobody should be forced feed Bonos ego, ever, against their will....

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: First nail in the G+ coffin...

      Was Google's absolute insistence that you had to have it, if you had an Android phone, Gmail, or YouTube. Look at when Apple put U2 on everyone's phone. Nobody likes being forced.

      My ability to comment on youtube videos ("oh no!" I hear you cry...) is broken by my refusal to relinquish a pre-google username that nevertheless got linked to a google plus account.

      Did find one use for google+, which was keeping in touch with people from an online course for continuing learning. (Which G+ seemed a more appropriate place for than the alternatives.)

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: First nail in the G+ coffin...

      " Look at when Apple put U2 on everyone's phone. Nobody likes being forced."

      Was it an iPhone or are you thinking of the U2 iPod. If it's the latter, you paid more for that special edition iPod and could have bought another one if you liked.

      Personally, I don't care for U2. Like many other vintage bands, they were novel when they came out, were overplayed and stagnated. Bono is too full of himself.

  7. Maya Posch

    I for one will miss Google+

    I was one of the lucky ones who got an invite for Google+ when it was still brand-new in 2011. Over the following years I would build up contacts via the network, spend hours in Hangouts with often the same groups of people, sometimes with strangers and generally found Google+ to be a very social social network. Looking back, I basically only have positive feelings for Google+, because of the people who helped shape it.

    Google+ isn't a Facebook-killer. It never was. It was shaping up to be something much more, something better and more social. Not this eternal 'look at me' setup with posts in a timeline, but with people actually hanging out and chatting in video chat rooms, holding various sessions and even tying Google+ into local TV broadcasts (like me appearing live on a Missouri TV station a few years back to talk about the topic of intersex).

    To me it feels like Google didn't understand what they had there when they took away this Hangout functionality and made it into its own thing, disconnected from Google+. That was the moment when things started drifting apart and I didn't spend nearly as much time on the service as I used to.

    I will miss Google+, but fortunately we will always have IRC :)

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: I for one will miss Google+

      I agree, very good for groups with shared interests and, by using groups, thankfully free of inane drivel

      I am not surprised site visit times are low, most of my G+ content is consumed via email as any "must read" content is configured to be emailed to me. Main use of site is settings tweaks or registering / unregistering group memberships, occasiinal browse of content I do not get emailed and only look at occasionally to catch up. I liked the way it was not in your face and it was easy to prevent message overload - as ever not happy with Googles rep for data snitching (though all groups I was on were hobby or IT related so nothing juicy for Google to snaffle)

      As with any social media site any DOB etc used to register was junk, and email addy specific to that site

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I for one will miss Google+

      The problem was Google wanted G+ to be a Facebook killer. Which it was good enough to be - having a far better UI. But they aren't interested in products that only do OK, they only want big successes or things they still hope will be big. So once it became a useful niche item, it was doomed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: I for one will miss Google+

        "The problem was Google wanted G+ to be a Facebook killer."

        Nope, Google never wanted it to be that. The idiot press thought that is what it was.

  8. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Another One Bites The Dust

    Yet again we learn that you simply cannot rely on any service provided by Google. How many times do we get to play "Here today, gone tomorrow" before we all learn to stay away?

    Regardless of what the Google+ actual user numbers were, there are people who've built an environment around its functionality who will now be scrambling to replace it. How many times has this happened before? A dozen? Two, three dozen?

    The death of social media won't be because of data leaks or general pissy attitudes, it will be because Google, Facebook, and Microsoft continue to break or destroy the very tools that bring users to their door.

    1. TXITMAN

      Re: Another One Bites The Dust

      POOF. Years of digital history erased with a couple of commands by the sysadmin.

      1. Joe W

        Re: Another One Bites The Dust

        ... and this time it is not a "who, me?" article

      2. DougS Silver badge

        "Years of digital history erased"

        Hardly. Google never deletes anything. They will make it so you can't see it any longer, but they will hold onto that data until you die. Probably after, since they might be able to use it to advertise crap to your grandkids.

    2. 0laf Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Another One Bites The Dust

      "Yet again we learn that you simply cannot rely on any service provided by Google. How many times do we get to play "Here today, gone tomorrow" before we all learn to stay away?"

      In fairness it's not just Google playing that game. MS is much much worse for it.

    3. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Another One Bites The Dust

      Google+ was by far the best social media site for sharing information, because Google have a plethora of other services there was no need to have Google+ be designed trap users inside like Facebook tries to do, so it was easy to get where you wanted with Google+.

      Google intended it to be a competitor to Facebook, but people used it as a competitor to wordpress and tumblr, and it could have taken off if Google had recognized that and turned it into a blog platform. People could just make a public post and add tags to it and people would be able to find it. Think of Benson Leung's detailed posts about USB-C when USB-C phone started to come out.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another One Bites The Dust

      'Yet again we learn that you simply cannot rely on any service provided by Google. How many times do we get to play "Here today, gone tomorrow" before we all learn to stay away?'

      Just need to wait for the wheel to turn full circle again. When I fist had an Android phone I used to use a pdcast app that was in "google-beta|-land" amd seemed ideal for what I needed. Then Google decided to drop it explaining that many other people had "followed their lead" and introduced alterrnative podcast apps and after a bit of research I chose one and moved everythign over to it - and to be honest, overall it probably ended up being a bit better than the google app. But earlier this year I was surprised to see Google making a big deal over a new "google podcast app" ... so maybe in a few years time google will announce that they are "introducing the google social media platform" all over again!

    5. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Another One Bites The Dust

      I normally get voted down for this but ... the internet is ephemeral and you are unwise to buy into any web based service as it could be gone tomorrow. For individual users that isn't to much of a probelm exceptfor the time wasted on the service, bitter experience says that user forums and the data put on them get trashed every day.

      Systems that you build a workflow around are particularly sucky. Mozilla changed the way that addins have to be built and relied upon addins were trashed (no updates of firefox despite the daily nagging). Website content management systems change and render a bunch of modules useless, I've still not got my drupal 6 site fully working with drupal 7 as modules weren't updated. God knows how much will break with D8. Is it any wonder that people don't update web sites? As an aside they broke the Date module so that it no longer works with dates < 1000CE.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another One Bites The Dust

        " I've still not got my drupal 6 site fully working"

        You should be thankful your Drupal site wasn't fully functional yet.

        There was/is a nasty remote code execution vulnerability in unpatched Drupal sites.

        https://www.drupal.org/sa-core-2018-004

  9. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Pint

    Now they'll most likely face the wrath of GDPR.

  10. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Time to quit

    These companies were formed by college kids, it was fun when it started but now 10-15 years later Facebook, Twitter, et al are still being run by silly kids who never really grew up. They saw money in selling us, the users, as just commodities and while their founders live in mansions and drive Ferraris, we have to live with the mess they've made of our privacy.

    Stop using them now and get a life.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably Google have enough metadata

    on High Court & SCOTUS Judges to ensure this won't be challenged in court.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Presumably Google have enough metadata

      They know what really happened at a certain party in the early 1980s involving a [racist stereotype] drunk Irishman.

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
  13. fluffybunnyuk
    WTF?

    Alas poor google+

    As hamlet would say:-

    Alas, poor google+! I knew it el reg, an app of infinite jest, of most excellent slurp. It hath borne my data to every company a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those andoid phones that I have touched I know not how oft. —Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the tablet on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to facebooks chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Sad really

    It's sad when we have to dig through all the BS to find out there's only a lie under all the BS. It's permeating everything in our lives now. Politics (well it's always been there), business, religion, entertainment.

    Yes my coat, with maps to all the deserted places I might choose to live in the future...

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I'm part of three G+ communities :

    IT professionals

    Retro computing

    IT security

    The knowledge you can find in those communities is most excellent, and something you will not find on faecebook.

    Most members of those communities are most upset, and we're deciding where to go from here.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      If your communities are most excellent, I hope that in future you'll just party on! Dudes!

    2. The Dogs Meevonks

      there's already a growing diaspora pod of G+ people.

  16. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Linux kernel devs

    One group of users (with more than 2 members) appears to be Linux kernel developers, some of whom are quite active on Google+. Now that it is going down, they are discussing alternatives, and one strong possibility appears to be Pleroma (a federated social network - no, I had not heard of it either before today).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux kernel devs

      As far as I can trace this back, Pleroma appears to be a frontend for GNU Social - start there.

      The problem with fully open systems is that the world is too full of assholes who like nothing better than a free resource to abuse for their own purposes, so you need some control. Which costs effort/resource/possibly money..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux kernel devs

        " frontend for GNU Social"

        GNU Social ... I assume this must be covered by GPL so that anyone can take you comments and modify them in any way so long as they leave an attribution to you as the oiginal source!

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Linux kernel devs

          Only for any code samples you post. For everything else, it would likely be something along the lines of the CC Attrib-No Derivatives licence.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux kernel devs

          anyone can take you comments and modify them in any way so long as they leave an attribution to you as the oiginal source!

          Hmm, so the exact opposite to the Chatham House rule?

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Linux kernel devs

        I think the idea here is that there are lots and lots of separately owned servers (everyone could run one, Pleroma claims to be lightweight enough to run on a Raspberry Pi), and the servers agree to exchange messages, or not. So there is no central service to abuse, and each server can have its own policies (about blocking obnoxious users and servers, for example). Reminds me of how USENET used to work. It just might fly, at least among technically knowledgeable users. Like the kernel devs...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. GloomyTrousers

      Re: Linux kernel devs

      Speaking of federated social networks... from what I've seen, a lot of people from G+ are heading to Diaspora - specifically, https://pluspora.com/.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Linux kernel devs

        The 2 large federated networks are merging into 1 as they both adopt the new ActivityPub protocol which replaces the Diaspora and OStatus protocols.

        So it doesn't matter which site you pick, your posts will be visible to anyone of any of the other sites, as far as the user is concerned people on the other sites might as well be users of the site you use as there will be no observable difference between them.

  17. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    "Could have leveraged"

    You are an HR consultant and I claim my £5

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    What about the "Login with Google+" buttons you see everywhere?

    Google can just flick a switch and it goes dark. What about the zillions of websites and apps that 3rd parties they encouraged to wire in their services this way? All those share buttons?

  20. sandman

    Never trust the +

    Another lesson in not trusting anything with a + sign at the end:

    Google+

    Canada+ (or++) (or +++)

    C++ (you can like this one, but trust, nah).

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Never trust the +

      Hey! My blood is AB+ and I ... eh, you know what? I don't trust that stuff either. Stupid blood.

  21. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Google is a Martial Art Master

    "Use your weaknesses as strengths"

    A so-called social network down is always a good news for the Human Kind, even if the latter doesn't deserve it.

  22. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,

    Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,

      Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

      How can we be sure it was a ring donut?

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Hmmm.... translation, please?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        He's just tolkien through his ring...

  23. DrXym Silver badge

    Hang on

    It's terrible that Google didn't find this bug but if their review found it was never exploited, then why not just fix the issue and move on?

    As for why G+ didn't take off, I'd suggest because it did nothing better than Facebook or Twitter and in some regards was very annoying. I used it a few times, but it kept bugging me to fill in more information about myself, link to people, say where I went to University etc. Unskippable, permanent nag boxes in the feeds. That's the kind of annoying crap you pull when your service is indispensible, not when you're desperate to get users to your platform.

  24. onefang Silver badge

    So now my girlfriend will have to use something else to send me photos of her latest drawings of goldfish, and videos of her daughters violin performances. We'll live. Though it will be good to not have to wade through random friends anti Trump posts on the way to view those photos and videos.

    Bring back Google Wave, at least I got some use out of that.

  25. Whitter
    Paris Hilton

    Can we get the "+" search operator back again now?

    Given that Google hamstrung search just to appease marketing types with the Google+ name, can we get the + search term (must contain) back again now?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Can we get the "+" search operator back again now?

      In theory, the same functionality still exists except it uses the "" (quotes) operator, as evidenced by Google itself whenever you click on a small "must contain <search term>" link under a result that lacks it, resulting in your term changing to in-quotes in the search box. I say "in theory" though because it still seems to me "must contain" is treated more like a weak hint by Google rather than "not a single result that does not have this, capisce?!?"...

  26. dch0ar
    Stop

    Kill it?

    Will we be now allowed to uninstall it from mobiles, together with any other Google forceware?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kill it?

      I've just uninstalled Google+ from my Huawei handset. As in actually uninstall, not uninstall updates.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kill it?

      You always have been able to either uninstall it, or disable it (and all it's processes), depending on your phone manufacturer, Do you even own an Android phone, or is your information based on what you worked out by googling???

  27. spannerpog

    I/we will miss it

    Started using it for my family in the days before Facebook had private groups.

    The 'Circles' concept is a bit of a brain burner because everybody is used to admin managed permission based groups, but is actually brilliant and if it had come first, then I am pretty sure it would be the de facto method of group sharing.

    I guess Facebook is now going to be home of family holiday snaps, but OMG how I hate that platform. Am open to suggestions for alternatives!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hatred of Microsoft let Google in, which in turn let...

    Facebook in. That's why Facebook soared and Google+ crashed & burned.

    And now? Disdain for all 3, plus distrust in Tech in general, has hit them all...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google has surprised Google+ users – all two of them

    Stopped reading at that obvious clickbait,,,

    This amateur blog is a joke.

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Google has surprised Google+ users – all two of them

      "This amateur blog is a joke."

      If I were a betting man, I would be willing to wager that you were one of the ACs who used exactly this "joke" every time Windows Phone was mentioned and just can't stand it when it gets turned round and used on google...

      ... amirite?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google has surprised Google+ users – all two of them

        What's a Windows Phone?

        Quite clearly, Google+ has more than 2 users, it has millions of active users. This is just shit clickbait story that The Register are famous for these days,,.,

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This Ryan Satterfield person is full of it...

    He tells others to get their facts straight, and yet, himself:

    https://twitter.com/I_am_ryan_S/status/1049570443823177728

    Not an internet security researcher here: those cards are fake, they are promotional items for a K-pop group.

    The Visa logo is misleading, but lack of a CVV, some other logos, card date on month/day instead of month/year (and it happens to be the birthday of the person below), a return address of "world wide pretty ARMY", and well, the name of a famous Korean pop singer right on the front, that should have helped him do his homework.

    You can buy and exchange them around if you're interested.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd-AIlzHkKQ/

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: This Ryan Satterfield person is full of it...

      Eh, I skimmed his feed, and not everything he says is bullshit.

      The tweet that Richard quoted in the article is kind of stupid - IT security researchers should think long and hard, and then phrase their arguments carefully, any time they come down against disclosure. That's as sacred a cow as you'll find in this business. (And as the subhead notes, Google themselves are happy to wave the disclosure flag as it pleases them.)

      And yes, I didn't bother looking at those card-image posts, but I had a feeling they were probably rubbish too.

      Some of his other comments are reasonable, though. I'm willing to give him a pass on this one, and hope he grows out of the habit of tweeting without thinking.

  31. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    Stepping Stones

    All those inviting new 'Stepping Stones' to a bright new data driven future were just land mines weren't they?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hatred of Microsoft let Google in, which in turn let

    Facebook in. That's why Facebook soared and Google+ crashed & burned.

    And now? Disdain for all 3, plus distrust in Tech in general, has hit them all...

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Hatred of Microsoft let Google in, which in turn let

      Facebook had already soared by the time Google+ came along. Back when Google+ first came along I wanted it to beat Facebook, because back then I still believed Google was a force for good. Now I'm VERY glad that Google+ failed, because they already have so much personal data they don't need all the data that Facebook has as well.

      Plus at least with Facebook it is your decision whether you give them anything. With Google you can minimize what they get on you but can't eliminate it entirely, due to their advertising network that means they know when you visit pages all over the web.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No lose

    It was always shit. There are so many other bugs going ignored although technically not security issues. The one where you store your passwords in Chrome (people at work do) and then wonder why they can't login to a website. I told them for years Chrome has had a bug where, despite you telling it your password was updated it still insists on filling the form in with the old password so the login fails.

    The fact Google Drive for desktop doesn't audit. So if your company encourages its users to "save everything to your Google Drives", you can then use your personal PC to steal loads of documents with no audit. Because certain companies haven't bothered to pay for proper audits, it then allows said users to install Google Driver for Desktop (or whatever its called now), sync your work Google drive with it, which downloads all the docs to your person PC (that probably isn't encrypted) and the place of work won't be able to prove you've done this due to no active audits of Google Drive for desktops.

    Warned a company about that before, was ignored. I'm 99% sure a Director then did as above to steal company docs before leaving and setting up a private business in the very area they used to work in said company.

    Nice.

  34. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    To be replaced by...

    So I guess Google will be replacing Google+ with...

    Google++

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: To be replaced by...

      Too late. G++ is already a thing, and there would be massive confusion.

  35. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the advertising giant didn't want to have to deal with the PR and regulatory fallout from admitting it screwed up."

    That's why effective privacy legislation requires an extra layer of penalties for not making notifications in the first place.

  36. EnviableOne Bronze badge
    Go

    Google Knowledge

    Google may not know whos data or what exactly was accessed, but tehy will damn sure know if anyone used that feature of their API cos $$$$

  37. The Dogs Meevonks

    I'm a G+ user and have been since the start... and it's always been a much better social media platform.

    But it suffered from several issues

    Journalistic bullshit like this that repeatedly called it a ghost town and did their best to discourage people from using it. Those same people were unable to grasp how it worked and that it was built around engaging with others and not just shit posting links for likes.

    Through G+ I've made friends all over the world... on average people who are smarter than me... I've made friends with TV people, musicians, artists, writers and seen careers take of because of the platform.

    I actively tried to discourage too many people from following me... and at it's peak still managed to collate more than 5000 and to this day only a little under 4800. I have friends with hundreds of thousands of followers and the sheer size of the interaction going on could have easily competed with FB.

    But in 2014, Vic Gundotra left as head of the project and Yonatan Zunger also move on to other things. Then new people brought in didn't understand it's usefulness and started to change it for the worse... they removed elements, split of it's biggest attraction 'hangouts' into a separate site entirely... that alone made it very hard for people to see when friends were online and in a video chat.

    In one swift move... it went from having full video hangouts several nights a week.. where people struggled to even get in and others were hopping from one to another to catch up with friends... to finding it hard to even find people online... That was the start of the death spiral... and shitty decision after shitty decision followed... G+ didn't die because of a lack of use... there are still hundreds of thousands of people using it daily and there would be millions more if not for googles mismanagement of the project.

    Some of us saw the writing on the wall.. it wasn't a question of 'if' the hammer fell but 'when'

    So about a month ago, a couple of people started a dispora pod for the people of G+, not as a replacement.. but as a backup.

    Timing was fortuitous... Because in those first few weeks perhaps 400-500 people we all new joined up to test it out... and aside from a few minor issues with functionality that G+ had and diaspora doesn't... Feedback was positive.

    Then google announced on Monday afternoon that they would be closing G+... We'd mentioned it a few times to others on G+... So we put the word out again, giving more information... promoting the ad free, censorship free, data mining free, privacy centric features...

    Our diaspora pod... has seen another 4000 people join in 48hrs... server capacity has been quadrupled to handle the load... and interaction is through the roof.

    I've rediscovered friends who had gotten fed up with the way G+ was mismanaged and drifted away... who are now back and loving the community spirit again.

    diaspora isn't perfect... but it's still being worked on, and because you pay for server space it's not going to go away and it runs on open source code... and is constantly being worked on and developed... if only google had done the same, instead of mismanaging and abandoning a well used and loved platform.

    And shame on the 'technology' focused hacks who never bothered to figure out how it worked and instead regurgitated the same old bullshit over and over again

    1. Maya Posch

      Totally agreed on the hopping between Hangouts. It was the one thing which made Google+ so incredibly social to me, much more than the posts did. Removing Hangouts from G+ was definitely what killed the network, as it removed like 90% of the social interaction overnight.

      I haven't looked at Diaspora or such alternatives. Mostly just went back to using IRC, forums and Twitter. Would be nice if one day something like G+ with Hangouts could exist again.

  38. Tree
    Thumb Down

    Google is Arrogant?

    These geeks think they are so much smarter than we ordinary people. After all, we are the idiots trusting the most evil company with our most private things. They keep a secret profile of each of us. They claim that this information is not shared. They lie.

    Avoid Google in everything possible.

  39. Someone Else Silver badge
    Pint

    What a great way to open an article!

    Google has surprised Google+ users – all two of them – by vowing to shutter the service over the next ten months in the wake of a potential data leak.

    That's why I read The Register. Facts, ensconced in an appropriate amount of snark.

    Nicely done!

  40. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Meetup

    I find it better to got out to meet people. With Meetup and platforms like it, I can find groups with similar interests and hang out for an evening. Back in BBS days, it was fun to actually get to meet the people I would chat with online. Sadly, many of them have passed away or we've lost touch.

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