back to article Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

Google says it will be speeding up the dismantling of its Google+ social network following the discovery of a new security bug that affected 52.5 million users. The Chocolate Factory maintains that it has no evidence that the vulnerability, which was found in the API for Google+, was ever actively exploited. According to …

  1. oldtaku
    Trollface

    Tens!

    "52.5 million accounts at risk, tens of people are worried"

    Don't forget both people who are going to be really outraged about the closure being moved up.

    1. Justin S.

      Re: Tens!

      Nah. They overstate the number of worried by an order of magnitude.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Tens!

        Only one?

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Pint

      "a viable alternative to Facebook"

      Here's one. It's called "the pub".

      Cheers.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Here's one. It's called "the pub".

        You've got a pub that anyone in the world can get into instantly?? Sweet!

        1. cream wobbly

          Re: Here's one. It's called "the pub".

          You've got a pub that anyone in the world can get into instantly?? Sweet!

          It's instant if you had the foresight to be there already...

  2. Blofeld's Cat
    Stop

    Hmm ...

    " ... accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019 ..."

    I'm just waiting for some government department to announce that, after a multi-year, multi-million pound consultation, they are moving all their services exclusively to Google+ from next April.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Hmm ...

      Didn't you hear? The post-brexit Making Tax Digital customs service will be authenticated using a Google+ account.

  3. SVV Silver badge

    fixed it within a week of it being introduced

    Is that "deliberately" introduced as an excuse to shut it down four months earlier?

    I doubt they were doing too much work on it if it was on its' way out anyway. What a great idea if it's believed. "Hey, even though we were going to give you lots of time to get off this software we're desperate to dump, an unfortunate very recently introduced bug means that the plug must be pulled pronto".

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: fixed it within a week of it being introduced

      They were probably tweaking the API so that they could either migrate people's data to somewhere else, or disentangle something else from this.

      That's the sort of thing that is done in sunset periods.

      In doing so, they probably realised that the whole thing is a mess and have just said "fuck it, just pull the plug and we'll deal with any fallout later"

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: fixed it within a week of it being introduced

      Is that "deliberately" introduced as an excuse to shut it down four months earlier?

      Why would they need an excuse? The user base waspitiful compared to competing services, and they will already be rapidly draining away to avoid a "disorderly exit" nest year. Google aren't under an contractual commitment, so they needn't worry about bringing the death sentence forward, and they have already reaped all the bad publicity of shutting down yet another failed venture (despite the fact that trying and risking failing is what businesses should do).

      For any non-cash paid services I'd have thought in today's world there's no reason that they couldn't have announced closure with six months notice in the first place, after developing and publishing a couple of alternative "how to" different migration strategies for their existing users. Done properly they might even have been able to get the user base to opt for options, and transfer the data in a bulk sale to one of the competing platforms. The dopey Puritans over at Tumblr have just done the same thing, and missed an opportunity to package up and sell a big bundle of somewhere between 1-25 million users. Tumblr's decision is theirs to make (their platform, their rules), but to actually throw away millions of users rather than seek a different way of extracting value whilst still removing them from the user base - that's just daft..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how much choosing a completely meaningless name hurt Google+.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's what happens when you force your password policy on the creative team. "Your product name/RPG party/exec-level staff must include at least one character from class 'other'"

      I think the last services with names that weren't completely meaningless were, uh, livejournal and adultfriendfinder? (Other blogging services and hookup sites are available.)

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      You think an even less meaningful name would be better ? Bookface, maybe ?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        "You think an even less meaningful name would be better?"

        Yes I do. Tesco for example doesn't really mean food shop, but everyone in the UK knows who they are.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Tesco apparently means "T.E.Stockwell" and "Cohen". Well, that's my learning for today ticked off.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            I think you'll find it means quality goods at reasonable prices actually!!

          2. cream wobbly

            Hm. "T. E. Stockwell - Cohen" is an anagram of "clench week's lotto".

  5. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    WTF?

    A load of bollox

    If they are so stupid(!) that they can't fix the API, they could remove it - it has absolutely nothing to do with the google+ service users see.

    One of the plus (pun intended) points of google+ was that it wasn't full of third party app crap. Removing scraping bots will not affect user experience one jot.

    1. Antonius_Prime

      Re: A load of bollox

      "Removing scraping bots will not affect user experience one jot."

      Yeah it will! It'll mean a few KB less of Important Consumer Data to be sold^C^C^C ...

      Usage Insight! I mean usage insights to be analysed for specific learnings, process improvements and value adding for the end user...

      (Ow. Think I sprained my bullsh*t generator...)

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Google does it's usual...

    If something gets tiresome to maintain, they shut it down. When will the sheeple learn that Google doesn't keep anything open that costs them money?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Google does it's usual...

      Can you think of any company that provides unlimited free services forever?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google does it's usual...

        Can you think of any company that provides unlimited free services forever?

        Me, me. Microsoft Windows 10

        Wait, what?

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Google does it's usual...

          "Me, me. Microsoft Windows 10"

          Stoppppit! You're banned from playing!

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: Google does it's usual...

            All businesses close things that don't make money.

            I guess it's the word sheeple that has triggered the upvotes. Ironic.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: Google does it's usual...

              All businesses close things that don't make money.

              Not all businesses treat individual units as separate businesses that have to stand up on their own. Some take a big strategic picture view of their entire business, and tolerate a loss in one area if it helps makes a positive long term contribution overall. Speaking entirely subjectively, and therefore possibly unfairly (apologies in advance) this is more commonplace outside of the USA...

              Google shutting down Google+, and indeed the whole way they've handled its introduction and forced promotion, indicates that Google is now separate business units, pursuing mostly independent strategies. That's not good for their long term future. Their users don't want to have to treat Google as a bunch of disconnected businesses...

              Open Goal?

              With Facebook rapidly becoming public enemy #1, and Google exiting the arena without a replacement too, one has to say that there's a good opportunity for someone else to butt in. Say a big company stood up a decent cross platform social media service, with an emphasis on not slurping data at all (so they'd need to be in another profitable business area already) and could promote it well enough, it might just get somewhere. If we all liked it, we'd all be liking them, a marketing manager's dream customer base.

              Who could do that? MS?, Apple? Amazon? Oracle? OK that last one isn't serious...

  7. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Happy

    Google+ shutdown

    Why not just call the 73 users who actually bothered to sign up and use it, to tell them it's going to be finally shut down? Ha ha!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google+ shutdown

      Loads of us signed up because at one stage Google basically *required* you to do that to continue using your YouTube account.

      This was obviously a blatant attempt to coerce people into using Google+, but as they found out, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. (#) (Then again, maybe they were just interested in getting the number of claimed users up, regardless of whether the accounts were active or not).

      Some time later, after an outcry, they relaxed this requirement (IIRC) and allowed you to supposedly decouple your YouTube account and the Google+ you didn't want in the first place. (##)

      Later, they strongarmed businesses (like my employer) into signing up for Google+ to get control over our listings etc. Then, after its original incarnation as a Facebook rival had failed and they decided to shift Google+ into being a consumer-oriented Pinterest clone, they wasted even more of our time by forcing us off it again.

      tl;dr - Google dicked about their users, and forced them to sign up for Google+ in an attempt to make it A Thing- and it still didn't work. Good riddance.

      (#) "My" Google+ page contains nothing but a single post explaining that it's unused and exists solely for this reason.

      (##) I tried this, but it's still not clear whether the accounts were completely decoupled and "my" Google+ account has my former YouTube account name. Whereas my YouTube account login still uses the associated email address rather then the original username. Meanwhile, my employer has a confusing mess of Google accounts that got worse when we signed up for G-Suite and couldn't combine the old accounts, but had to change their associated email addresses anyway.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Google+ shutdown

        I tried this, but it's still not clear whether the accounts were completely decoupled and "my" Google+ account has my former YouTube account name. Whereas my YouTube account login still uses the associated email address rather then the original username. Meanwhile, my employer has a confusing mess of Google accounts that got worse when we signed up for G-Suite and couldn't combine the old accounts, but had to change their associated email addresses anyway.

        Indeed, my Youtube account seems to be tied to my google account (this became unavoidable eventually), and yet somehow restricted, I appear to have two accounts, but only one I can log into. A bit curious what the result of this will be, I'm expecting a third equally inaccessible to turn up.

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Google+ shutdown

        but as they found out, you can lead a horse to water,

        but a pencil must be lead.

        TFTFY

  8. JimPoak

    google+

    And today Google+ is defaced with Sex Sex Sex messages shame the don't make it easier to report it. I have the same issue with the BBC on technical issues.

  9. DavCrav Silver badge

    "Still, while Thacker insists there is no evidence the bug was ever exploited"

    Well, no. That would require someone to be there.

  10. terry 15

    I'm just waiting for the point when they do shut it down and and end up breaking access to other google products at the same time due to us all having to link our google+ accounts to their services...

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The best thing Google could do

    Make it open source, give it to someone who cares for it.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: The best thing Google could do

      "Make it open source, give it to someone who cares for it."

      You say give it to someone who cares for it, but what if he doesn't want it?

  12. adam payne Silver badge

    "We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced," Thacker said.

    Nothing to see here, move along now.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about co-op sign-ins

    Will this involve all my co-op sign-ins. Web sites that allow you to register/sign-in using your Google account.

    1. Nik 2

      Re: What about co-op sign-ins

      <quote>Will this involve all my co-op sign-ins. Web sites that allow you to register/sign-in using your Google account.</quote>

      No. Google accounts != Google+ accounts.

      1. Killfalcon Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: What about co-op sign-ins

        "Google accounts != Google+ accounts."

        Ah, yes, but:

        "Google accounts" = "Google" & " accounts"

        At least in most languages. I'm pretty sure some do let you use + for string concatenation, but even then you'd still need quotes.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Talkin out the side of their neck

    Bla, nobody, blah, data, blhah everything is ok, blahbb

    It's the boiler plate statement. No real announcement really. Just closing up shop early....

  15. DaveB

    Useful

    This was a good reminder to delete my profile......thanks

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder.

    Is that several local councils at risk then that insist it was a great idea to use their ShitSuite. Some such authorities also decided to use Google+. And also gave virtually no training so the default share option on documents was set to "Share with everyone" for quite a while.

    The fun that could be had. And the data that can be stolen with no access to proper audits. Although the same can be done with 365 and OneDrive.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity...

    I'm an active user of G+... Have a few large social circles on there... We don't know where we are going.

    Farcebook has been suggested, but it's very very unpopular... G+ is/was nice and clean. The phone client wasn't loaded with cruft, it did harvest all your contacts and eat you battery like FB. It didn't force adverts into your feed every 3 or 4 posts.

    It really does make us look at Google in a very different light... Do no evil, but being a right dick is fine.

    1. cream wobbly

      Re: Pity...

      We don't know where we are going.

      Pub? Hell? Slightly mad? Take your pick.

  18. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Angel

    Today Google+, tomorrow Facebook?

    Well, we can hope, can't we?

  19. Tree
    Unhappy

    Google minus

    Minus Gurgle? Don't track me, bro.

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