Google announced on Monday that it will sunset the consumer version of its social network Google+ by the end of August 2019 after a vulnerability exposed the personal data of up to 500,000 users between 2015 and March 2018.
A review of Google+ as part of the company's Project Strobe "crystallized what we've known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps," Ben Smith, Google fellow and vice president of Engineering, wrote in a blog post.
"The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds."
The review found no misuse of the data and the problem was fixed in March, but the company's privacy and data protection office said the vulnerability didn't meet the threshold of security issues to notify users of the data breach. According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the vulnerability wasn't disclosed because Google didn't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers.
You may have deleted your Google+ profile a long time ago, but if you never did and it's been sitting in hibernation, here's what to do.
First, download your data
To save any of the data you shared on your Google+ account, including photos, visit Google Takeout's Download Your Data page, select Google+ (and any other Google products where you'd like an archive of your data). Choose Next and then select how you'd like your archive delivered. You can be sent a download link via email, the archive can be placed in your Google Drive or it can be uploaded to Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, with the links emailed to you.
Delete your Google+ profile
Sign in to your account at http://plus.google.com/downgrade and follow the instructions to delete your Google+ profile. If you don't see the downgrade page and instead see an upgrade page, you have already deleted your Google+ profile (or didn't have one).
If you have the Google+ Android app, disable or delete it
Google reveals on a support page that the Google+ app can't be deleted on some Android devices, but they can be disabled on all Android devices. Either way, you'll want to open your Android device's Settings app, choose Apps & notifications, select Google+ and then tap Uninstall (or Disable).
How do I restore my deleted Google+ profile?
You don't; deletion is permanent. Byeeee, Google+.
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