A Data Breach Just Killed Off Google+ — Here’s What You Need To Know

It was going to be the next big social media network. It was going to challenge Facebook and Twitter. It was going to make terms like “Circles” and “+1” just as common as hashtags and likes.

Except none of that happened, and now Google+ is no more.

Google PlusThis week, Google announced that it was shutting down the social network after the company discovered a security vulnerability that exposed private data. This announcement marks the official end of Google+, but in reality, the network had been dormant for a long time — it had just a handful of loyal users, and most user sessions lasted less than five seconds.

Still, the data breach — and the network’s abrupt end — does have some implications for industrial marketers. Let’s delve into those.

The Breach

Google maintains relationships with third-party app developers. In a review of these relationships, the company discovered a bug that allowed developers to access Google+ user profile information that had been marked as private.

This information included:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Job titles
  • Gender
  • Age

The company first discovered the bug in March. However, according to reports, it has existed since at least 2015. Over that extended period of time, as many as 500,000 users could have had their data mistakenly exposed. Google insists that no developer was aware of the bug, and that it had no evidence of any data being accessed or misused.

The Aftermath

After years of dwindling users and waning interest, the data breach became the death knell for Google+. While the network as we know it will be shut down in August 2019, the platform isn’t going away entirely. The search giant announced that it will be rebuilt as an enterprise network for internal communications and networking. 

How This Impacts Industrial Marketers Like You

While Google+ wasn’t a big hit with users, many companies did make use of the platform, as it offered some pretty substantial SEO benefits. If you regularly shared posts on the network with links back to your content, it’s not entirely clear how those links will be affected going forward. Keep an eye on your organic traffic and search rankings as we get closer to that August deadline.

The breach also serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding your data, and the data of those people who visit your website. Taking basic steps, like encrypting your site with HTTPS, is a good way to start.

Keep Up With Everything Happening In Industrial Marketing

Social networks and marketing channels come and go in the blink of an eye — even those backed by hugely successful companies like Google. As an industrial marketer, it’s critical that you stay plugged in to the latest trends and changes so that you can effectively grow your business. For a little help doing just that, download our free eBook — Think Outside The Industrial Marketing Toolbox.

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