Google+ has left behind one heck of a contentious legacy, and either you still miss the platform to this day or you couldn't say goodbye quickly enough to the social network Google seemingly forced upon you. But no matter where your feelings for it lie, we can all agree that Google+ is dead and gone — right? Well, we just saw some surprising signs of it sticking around in the Phone app, and now we're looking into why you might be getting email warnings about some GooglePlusBot messing around with your accounts.
The issue we're seeing can occur when an Android user attempts to reset their Instagram password — it may also surface with other accounts, but so far we've been noticing it with Instagram. In the middle of the password-reset process, users are receiving an email alert of a new login on their account from something calling itself the GooglePlusBot. If this starts setting off a lot of alarm bells for you, you're not alone.
As luck would have it, though, it seems that there's an utterly pedestrian explanation for these messages. What appears to be happening is that we're seeing a consequence of Messages doing a link preview. When you attempt to do an Instagram password reset via phone, it sends out a text with a reset link. But Messages grabs that link before you have a chance to visit and tries to generate a preview — and the service responsible for doing this is what seems to be identifying itself as the GooglePlusBot. So when Instagram sends you a link but then gets this unexpected connection from Google, its servers flag the discrepancy and trigger this alert.
Ultimately, you don't really need to do anything about this. If you want, you can turn link previews off in Messages settings. Or you can just ignore these alerts, now that you know what's behind them. Either way, Google+ is not making a low-key return; sorry, fanbois.