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New Bug Forces Alphabet to Expedite Google+ API Shutdown

Google said it was in the process of notifying any enterprise customers that were impacted by this new bug

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Google storing location data has strong potential for abuse: Experts
New bug forces Alphabet to expedite Google+ API shutdown. Pixabay

Google’s parent company Alphabet has announced to expedite the shutdown of the consumer version of its social networking platform Google+ and its APIs (application programming interfaces) after it discovered a new bug that impacted users’ data.

“With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shutdown of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days.

“In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognise there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users,” David Thacker, Vice President, Product Management, G. Suite, said in a statement late Monday.

In October, the Internet giant said it was shutting down the consumer version of Google+ due to low usage and a bug discovered in March 2017 that could leak the data of about half a million of its users.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

“We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API,” said the company.

However, Google said the bug did not give developers access to information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft.

“No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way,” it added.

Also Read- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Reaches Out to Microsoft President For Help

APIs allow developers to link different services together to form larger apps or services.

Google said it was in the process of notifying any enterprise customers that were impacted by this new bug. (IANS)

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Google Announces a New Initiative Called ‘Privacy Sandbox’ to Protect Users’ Privacy on Web

Recent studies have shown that when advertising is made less relevant by removing cookies, funding for publishers falls by 52 per cent on average

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

In a bid to protect users’ privacy as they open ads on the web, Google has announced a new initiative called “Privacy Sandbox” to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on Internet.

Google said it will work with the web community to develop new standards that advance privacy, while continuing to support free access to content.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve started sharing our preliminary ideas for a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ — a secure environment for personalization that also protects user privacy,” Justin Schuh, Director, Chrome Engineering, said in a blog post on Thursday.

The company also aims to ensure that ads continue to be relevant for users, but their personal data shared with websites and advertisers would be minimized by anonymously aggregating user information, and keeping much more user information on-device only.

According to the company, large scale blocking of cookies undermine people’s privacy by encouraging opaque techniques such as “fingerprinting”.

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FILE -Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., May 7, 2019. VOA

With “fingerprinting”, developers have found ways to use information that vary between users — such as what device they have or what fonts they have installed to generate a unique identifier which can then be used to match a user across websites.

“Unlike cookies, users cannot clear their fingerprint, and therefore cannot control how their information is collected. We think this subverts user choice and is wrong,” said Google.

However, blocking cookies without another way to deliver relevant ads significantly reduces publishers’ primary means of funding, which jeopardizes the future of the vibrant web.

Also Read: Top Investor of Tesla Wants Elon Musk to Step Down as CEO

Recent studies have shown that when advertising is made less relevant by removing cookies, funding for publishers falls by 52 per cent on average.

“So we are doing something different. We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web,” said Google, asking for feedback on this approach from the web platform community, including other browsers, publishers and their advertising partners. (IANS)