Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, and will be doing so over the next 10 months. The decision to terminate its own social networking platform comes after a security flaw discovered (and patched) in March of this year left the data of approximately 500000 users exposed.
The decision to shutter Google+ is also a part of a bigger initiative by the search engine known as “Project Strobe”. The project will have Google reviewing third-party developer access to Google accounts, Android device data, and the corresponding apps’ data access.
Google Account permissions are also getting fine-tuned, with the company giving consumers more control over what data they choose to share with each app.
In addition to shutting down Google+, the company is also updating its user data policy for the consumer version of Gmail. Specifically, the update will limit the apps that “may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data”. Moving forward, Google will only allow apps that specifically enhance email functionality to access the data. Such as email clients, backup services, and productivity services.
Another obvious reason behind the termination of Google+ is user engagement. Compared to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Google+ has one of the lowest usage and engagement, with 90% of its users accessing the service for less than 5 seconds.
(Source: Google Blog)