Google to End Plus, Inbox, and URL Shortener

Google will be winding down its Google Plus service following a massive data breach that led to the leakage of user information. (Image:  google /  CC0 1.0)
Google will be winding down its Google Plus service following a massive data breach that led to the leakage of user information. (Image: google / CC0 1.0)

Google will be winding down its Google Plus service following a massive data breach that led to the leakage of user information. The announcement comes on the back of Google’s plans for closing its Inbox services by next year.

Shutting down Google Plus

A security flaw had allowed third parties to access half a million Google Plus profiles since 2015. User information like name, email address, birth date, etc. were leaked. The company found the flaw only in March this year. However, Google decided not to announce the hack out of a fear that the incident could turn out to be a Cambridge Analytica for them.

In early October, The Wall Street Journal broke the news about the hack, putting Google on the defensive. The company later announced that the Google Plus service will be shut down by August 2019.  The decision was also prompted by the fact that around 90 percent of Google Plus sessions were less than 5 seconds long.

A security flaw had allowed third parties to access half a million Google Plus profiles since 2015. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A security flaw had allowed third parties to access half a million Google Plus profiles since 2015. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Europe’s new GDPR rules passed in May require companies that fail to disclose a data breach within 72 hours of the incident to pay a fine of 2 percent from their global revenues. But since the breach was patched by March 2018, Google can avoid having to pay a hefty fee for its actions.

Interestingly, the tech firm has decided to retain the service for its enterprise users. “Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses,” according to Google.

Closing inbox and goo.gl URL Shortener

In addition to Google Plus, the company had previously announced that it intends to shut down two more services by 2019 — Google Inbox and goo.gl URL Shortener. Launched in 2014, Inbox became a very popular service with many people because of its ability to intelligently group multiple emails into useful categories. Plus, the service also tested other nifty ideas like snoozing emails, Nudges, and Smart Reply.

In addition to Google Plus, the company had previously announced that it intends to shut down two more services by 2019 – Google Inbox and goo.gl URL Shortener. (Image: google / CC0 1.0)

In addition to Google Plus, the company had previously announced that it intends to shut down two more services by 2019 — Google Inbox and goo.gl URL Shortener. (Image: google / CC0 1.0)

However, Google integrated many of the features from Inbox directly into Gmail, thereby making the service effectively useless for many users. “As we look to the future, we want to take a more focused approach that will help us bring the best email experience to everyone,” said Product Manager Matthew Izatt (Google). Inbox will be completely shut down by the end of March 2019.

Meanwhile, Goggle is also expected to delete goo.gl URL Shortener by March next year. The company has decided to focus its efforts on Firebase Dynamic Links going forward. “URL Shortener has been a great tool that we’re proud to have built. As we look towards the future, we’re excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process,” according to Google (9to5Google).

The closure of URL Shortener does not mean that all shortened links will become inactive by March 2019. On the contrary, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination. Google has suggested using Owly or Bitly for URL shortening needs from henceforth.

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