Pixel 3

Google has launched its latest Pixel 3 smartphones in the midst of an embarrassing data exposure scandal.

The Pixel 3 handsets introduce new photography features including a much higher-quality digital zoom than before.

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The company suggests the innovation shows it has no need to place more than one camera on the handsets’ rear.

The launch comes a day after it emerged that a Google+ bug was not made public when it was discovered in the Spring.

The flaw led to personal data belonging to 500,000 members of the social network not being properly protected.

Google has announced it is now ending access to the service to the wider public.

The Pixel phones will not be directly affected by the move, but do make use of several of the firm’s cloud-based technologies including Google Photos – an image storage service that was spun out from Google+ three years ago.

One industry-watcher said part of the company’s motivation for offering the Pixel 3 and larger Pixel 3 XL was to promote “the best of Google”, adding that the message would now be harder to convey.

“The value proposition of Pixel is not just the hardware but the whole Google experience,” explained Carolina Milanesi from the consultancy Creative Strategies.

“If you’re starting to question Google and whether or not you want to be entrenched in its services, then the value that you’ll see in the handsets will decline.”

Despite positive reviews for previous editions of the Pixel, they have been niche products.

Google attained a peak smartphone market share of just 0.53% in the final three months of 2017, according to market research firm IDC, and has since seen that drop to 0.14%.