Google+, as a social media platform, may not be as popular as Facebook but it appears to have fallen into a similar data privacy trap.
As a result, it is reported that about 500,000 people on this platform might have had their personal information compromised as hackers have siphoned off the data from Google+.
This has forced the company to shut down the service from August 2019. If you have been using Google+ and wish to delete your account, here are the ways you can do it.
First and Foremost, Export Your Data
If you choose to delete your Google+ account, note that the account will be permanently deleted. This means you cannot restore the profile once it is deleted.
Before you delete your account, it’s important to first make an archive of your Google+ data.
- Go to this page.
- Scroll down “Google+” and select it.
- Hit the “Next” button at the bottom of the page.
- Select the platform you want your archive sent to, i.e. email, Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive.
- You should get an email with a link to download your archived data.
Removing Google+ from Your Account
The act of just removing the Google+ profile you had created is quite simple.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Go to this page. You need to be signed into your Gmail/Google account.
- If the above page directed to an “upgrade” page instead of a “downgrade” page, this means your Google+ profile has already been deleted. Or, it’s possible that you never created one in the first place.
- The page will lay out some basic information about what happens after your delete your account. In short, in this page Google is disclosing that all content in your Google+ profile will be removed upon deleting your account.
- At the bottom of the page, tick the checkbox that asks if you understand the terms. You can also opt to unfollow the profiles of other Google+ users in your network.
- Then hit the “Delete” button.
There Are a Few Things That Will Change
While you may not experience any serious changes after deleting your Google+ account and removing the profile, there are certain automatic actions linked to it that may stop functioning.
On the positive side, you can continue to use your Gmail account and do your searches on the Google search engine without any hassles.
If you had been friends with someone on Google+ before deleting it and the other person is still on the platform, they cannot search for you on the feature.
Google Knew About the Data Breach
Commentators are expressing concerns about the fact that Google had already known about the security flaw that led to 500,000 Google+ accounts being compromised, but the company decided not to notify account holders or to acknowledge it in public.
More importantly, the issue reportedly goes back two years from now. According to one report, Google had an air-tight policy on data privacy on the Google+ platform.
But in 2016, it seems it changed these policies whereby the consumer protection portion got diluted. This, experts feel, must have led to the current data theft in such a large scale.
Some extreme critics of Google will even go on to charge the company for doing these things to bolster its revenue at the cost of its own customers’ privacy.
Google is already facing a lot of heat in Europe on account of several of its commercial policies and is facing severe penalties even. These opponents of the tech giant call it an arrogant organization. But that may be for another forum to conclude.
However, the breach of customers’ personal information leaves a bitter taste as far as the users of the Google+ services are concerned.
Google Now Making Amends
In a post on its corporate blog, Google has spoken in detail about the Google+ service and the decision to pull it out.
It has assured that no other services will be affected by the removal of the platform. As mentioned, the company says it is a temporary measure lasting less than a year.
And having burnt the bridges, the company claims it is taking a few more security measures. These include a cap on the apps allowed to access Gmail and some of the other permissions being accorded to the app developers in terms of requesting permission to access certain types of data. These will be greatly restricted.
Other Ways to Keep Your Devices Protected
Now that you have come to know that the Google+ accounts were compromised and the company is shutting down the service, you must remain protective about the way you go about using your computer or any other device with which you stay connected to the internet.
These are sometimes repeated ad nauseum. But then, the damage it can cause is so severe that these tips are always added in the end.
You should adopt a range of best-practices to remain safe and secure—from signing up for a VPN service, to exercising abundant caution while opening emails and attachments, to having a strong antivirus package installed.