In March of this year, Google discovered a vulnerability in its security that meant that around half a million Google+ user accounts had been compromised. The search engine giant decided against revealing this to the public and instead patched the vulnerability and then carried on, business as usual.
Unfortunately for Google, recent media reports revealed exactly what happened and the business was forced to admit to the data being compromised. As a result, an announcement was made this month that Google+ would be shut down as of August next year. However, not all of the social network is being terminated and, for business users, it’s simply the beginning of a focus on a different service.
What exactly happened?
The security breach that happened back in March affected around 500,000 Google+ users. It effectively allowed developers outside of Google to see personal information belonging to those users, including age, gender and email addresses. The justification for not revealing the issue at the time it was first discovered was that it didn’t appear to Google that anyone had accessed the affected information who was not supposed to. It’s not impossible for Google to identify those users who may have been affected, as the search company claims to keep its data logs for just two weeks.
What is being shut down?
When Google+ was launched in 2011 it was designed to be a social network to rival Facebook. However, although monthly active user figures have been relatively positive, the amount of time users actually spend on Google+ is low – the average session lasts less than five seconds for 90% of its users. So, although the data breach is being identified as the reason for the network being shut down in August 2019, it already had its fair share of issues. However, while the consumer version of Google+ is going to be no more, for business users the service is expanding.
Google+ and G Suite
Google has said that it has “many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google Plus within their companies.” According to the search engine brand, the network is actually better suited to being a business product that enterprises can use to facilitate internal discussion in a secure way. This isn’t the first time that Google has withdrawn the consumer version of a product only to continue to sell it to businesses – Google Glass was dealt with in the same way.
However, Google isn’t just continuing the enterprise version it’s developing it too. Recent new additions to the platform, such as a dashboard for community engagement metrics, will be enhanced by features such as the ability of admins to review and moderate staff posts and being able to define custom streams where admins want to focus communication on a particular topic or product.
While consumers will see the back of Google+ next summer, for enterprises the platform still remains a viable option as an internal social network that has a range of efficiency and security features that could be beneficial across the business.
Find out more by reading our blog: Google Plus breaches mean closure… but new enterprise features for businesses!