Barely into 24 hours of beta release, Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times uncovered the first major privacy loophole in Google+, the search giant’s foray in to social networking. The bug comes as an early challenge to the newly released service, which looks to break out of the catastrophic effects from Google Buzz and take on the king of the hill, Facebook.
The service has already received praise for its treatment of privacy through the Circles feature, regarded as more cautious and secure than Facebook’s current policy. However, its these circles that cause Google+’s largest loophole to date, and pose a challenge for the most privacy conscious users.
The trouble stems from the “Reshare” feature, which is similar to a retweet on Twitter. If a user shares a picture or document with a chosen circle, any other user within that circle can reshare the content to any other circle or make it public with a single click. Resharing can be disabled through the privacy settings, but does not work retroactively. So, anything that was accidentally reshared cannot be private, and will be in the Google+ stratosphere permanently.
Google+ managers are already aware of the issue and are working to fix the loophole before the service opens up to the general public. No definite release date has been finalized for the product beyond the limited beta test.
Read more at the Financial Times.