Despite the size of the security flaw, Google executives opted not to disclose the problem at the time because they feared trouble from regulators after the intense criticism encountered by Facebook over its privacy woes, according to the Wall Street Journal. To make matters slightly more troubling, Google only keeps this particular API's data log for two weeks...so the company has no way of knowing which users were affected. And this incident will likely add more fuel to the privacy debate and accelerate the call for comprehensive federal regulation to preempt any new local privacy and data security laws, as states seek to take action against such data breaches. Info that was not exposed includes email messages, Google+ timeline posts, direct messages with other users, phone numbers and "any other type of communication data".
Google is shutting down its social network, Google+, the arm of Alphabet Inc. announced Monday.
Google is expected to announce the breach on Monday, as well as its plans shut down Google+, according to the Wall Street Journal.
One of the findings of the project team was that Google+ "has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption" and that it "has seen limited user interaction with apps". Today, after over 7 years of existence, Google is shutting down Google+ for good-although its low user base surprisingly wasn't the main factor behind this decision.
A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of almost 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.
The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations.
Many have long suspected that Google+ was in its final days, but nearly no-one could have predicted it would end like this.
Google then noted how the site wasn't really becoming a strong social destination, despite the fact that it could link up with other pages such as Gmail, Blogger and YouTube.
The US internet giant said that 90% of Google+ user sessions lasted only five seconds long or less.
Google's excuse is that it found no evidence of any of the data being misused, however, it also has no way of being sure of that. That said, Google had confirmed that the data hasn't been misused. On Gmail, Google's ubiquitous email service, only apps that improve email functionality will be allowed to request access.
Over the coming months, Google will update users with additional information, including ways to download and migrate data. By default, Google+ users can grant access to their profile data to third-party apps.