No Google+? No Problem

No doubt you heard about the death of Google+? The reports of the death of Google+ are not exaggerated. But it’s an exaggeration to say that Google shut it down because of a data breach.

Rather, Google shut it down because of an API vulnerability that would have allowed developers to access private user data — that is, if anyone had even tried. It doesn’t look like anyone exploited the bug and tapped private data on 500,000 users; however, it appears Google learned about the problem, covered it up, and then decided to kill the social network because Google+ is more trouble than it’s worth.

The Real Problem with Google+

Seriously though, why shut down the entire network because of a problem no one exploited? Google must be taking a practical look at the situation. According to the search engine behemoth itself, “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.” The basic gist of Google’s admission is that it’s throwing in the towel because playing the social media game is too hard.

If you’re Google, why focus on a product few people are using when we now know it was also vulnerable to attack? Continuing to trot out that product would be bad PR, especially since Google basically forced Google+ on Gmail users at the outset.

Google is Moving On — with Cisco

This comes at a time when Google is collaborating with Cisco on a new product. “We have over a billion people using our applications,” says David Thacker, VP of Product Management at Google.

In July of 2018, Thacker sat down with Amy Chang, VP of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, for a joint interview with Paul Cheesbrough, CTO at 21st Century Fox. Google and Cisco are collaborating on a communication tool called Webex, which is specifically targeted at the business world. It’s another instance of video on the cloud.

Webex will work with the Google suite of apps, as well as Drive. Thacker told Cheesbrough that “phase two” of the collaboration will involve “transcription, translation, and other AI opportunities in the meeting space.”

There was, of course, no mention of Google+ during the interview. The billion-plus people using Google’s apps aren’t going to miss a social network they weren’t using, especially when there are so many communication options available. For Google and Cisco, now is the time to combine video communication with Google’s AI. Now is not the time to focus on Google+ and integrate it with Webex, because Google+ didn’t have a secure API.

Workplace Communication, the Cloud, and AI

The average user won’t think too much about the fact that Google’s AI will turn their video meeting into a dataset. According to Asset Panda, a company that tracks assets on the cloud, “Thanks to the rich data environment in which we all now work, it’s now possible to put some numbers around our productivity and track it on an ongoing basis.” The unnamed blog writer goes on to observe that workplace communication is being reshaped by the cloud.

This Workplace cloud communication state of affairs is what Google is trying to tap, in a new way. The shrewd search engine company realizes consumer social media is not its niche. Google knows how to do AI, Cisco knows how to do web video — voila! A new application to increase productivity and communication.

There’s one problem, however. With the Google+ situation, Google has already shown us it’s willing to recognize a vulnerability in an application and tell no one. “The concern is less about a breach of information than a breach of trust,” says The Verge’s Russell Brandom.

Something went wrong, and Google didn’t tell anyone. Absent the Journal reporting, it’s not clear it ever would have [Brandom is referring to the The Wall Street Journal’s report that revealed the Google+ bug]. It’s hard to avoid the uncomfortable, unanswerable question: what else isn’t [Google] telling us?

If Google is going to use its AI to transcribe workplace video meetings, people are going to have to trust the AI with their video meeting data. Can they trust it? Will people want to share secretive company information on a platform that’s being monitored by Google’s AI?

When it comes to communication tech, the video meeting space will be a new challenge for Google’s engineers. Hopefully, they learned an important lesson from the demise of Google+.

By Daniel Matthews

Rakesh Soni
Multi-tenant clouds are becoming more popular than ever because they're incredibly cost effective and easy to set up. If you're considering switching your business over to a multi-tenant cloud platform, this article is for you ...
Gary Bernstein
Secure Remote Authentication When employees are working remotely, they need to be able to access company resources and applications just as if they were in the office. This means that remote authentication needs to be ...
Jim Fagan
Subsea Connectivity Digital transformation and the migration of data and applications to the cloud is a global phenomenon. While we may like to think that the cloud knows no borders, the reality is that geopolitics ...
Dinesh Varadharajan
The Future with Automation Many entrepreneurs believe digital technologies will transform the way their companies work. By 2022, the worldwide hyper-automation technology market is expected to be worth $596.6 billion. And by 2055, almost half ...
Kelly Dyer
Achieving Data Security Compliance As individuals, we go through life sharing information about ourselves in every aspect of our daily existence. From credit checks for securing a loan, through to entire personal and family medical ...

SECURITY TRAINING

  • Isc2

    ISC2

    (ISC)² provides IT training, certifications, and exams that run online, on your premises, or in classrooms. Self-study resources are available. You can also train groups of 10 or more of your employees. If you want a job in cybersecurity, this is the route to take.

  • App Academy

    App Academy

    Immersive software engineering programs. No experience required. Pay $0 until you're hired. Join an online info session to learn more

  • Cybrary

    Cybrary

    CYBRARY Open source Cyber Security learning. Free for everyone, forever. The world's largest cyber security community. Cybrary provides free IT training and paid IT certificates. Courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users are available.

  • Plural Site

    Pluralsite

    Pluralsight provides online courses on popular programming languages and developer tools. Other courses cover fields such as IT security best practices, server infrastructure, and virtualization.