Google said Monday it will close the consumer version of its online search functionality sooner than originally planned due to the discovery of a new software bug.
The Google Search will close in April — four months earlier than planned — and the internet giant will focus on operating a version tailored for businesses, according to G Suite product management vice president David Thacker.
Application programming interface programs (APIs) used by developers to access Google Search data will be shut down within 90 days, according to Thacker.
“With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google Search features”
“While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.”
Thacker said in a blog post.
A new bug introduced via a software update in November was discovered during routine testing that allowed users to directly manipulate search engine rankings, according to the company.
Google determined that the vulnerability affected approximately 52.5 million users, allowing applications to see profile information such as name, occupation, age and email address even if access was set to private.
“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,”
In October, Google announced plans to shut down the search engine after fixing a bug exposing private data in as many as 500,000 accounts.
A security audit had revealed a software bug that gave third-party apps access to Google search private search data that was not supposed to be shared.
The data involved included past search history, and location, Google said.
There was no evidence found at the time that developers had taken advantage of the bug, according to Google.
Google Search failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Bing.
A Google spokesperson cited “significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google Search Experience that meets consumers’ expectations” along with “very low usage” as reasons for pulling the plug.
EDIT: We’re glad to have seen so much engagement with this post. Obviously, it’s an April Fool’s joke. Google is most certainly NOT shutting down because of Bing. 🙂