- Google is shutting down its Google+ social network.
- A software glitch exposed the private information of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users between 2015 and March 2018, when the company became aware of the breach, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal.
- Google chose not to disclose this information out of fear of regulatory pressure and bad PR, The Journal reports.
- Many people probably aren't aware if they even have a Google+ account - here's how to check.
After the Wall Street Journal revealed that Google accidentally exposed the private information of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users over the period of three years, you might not feel so comfortable having a Google+ account anymore, even though Google plans to shut down the service.
In March 2018, Google became aware of a security breach that had exposed user data since 2015, the Journal reports. After discovering and fixing the bug, Google ultimately decided against disclosing this information out of fear of regulatory pressure, the Journal reports. The company has said it hasn't found any evidence that the exposed data was misused or inappropriately accessed by any third party.
Google+ was created in 2011 and never seemed to gain much traction in the social media sphere, and eventually Google turned it into the underlying account infrastructure connecting its various Google software products, so you might not even realise if you're a member. However, it's likely you are - if you have a Google account, you've probably been given a Google+ account by default.
Luckily though, if you want to jump ship before Google formally shuts down the social network, there's an easy way to check if you're signed up - and delete your account.
First, make sure you're signed into Google, and then go to Gmail.com or the Google homepage. Next, click on your profile picture in the top-right corner of the webpage.
Next, check if there's a link for "Google+ Profile" beneath your name and email address in that window. If the link shows up, you have a Google+ account. Click the link to be taken to your Google+ profile.
Once you're at your Google+ profile, click on "Settings" on the left side of the page.
Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page, and click "Delete your Google+ Profile." On the next screen, you'll be prompted to confirm that you want to delete your account.
Once you confirm that you want to delete your account, you'll be greeted with this survey page — that means you're all set, and your account has been deleted.