A memo, prepared by Google's legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives, warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger "immediate regulatory interest" and invite comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica, the report said.
The profile data that was exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status; it didn't include phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, direct messages or any other type of communication data. Thankfully, according to Google, no developer was aware of the bug, was misusing the Google+ API, or had misused private data from users' profiles.
Google responded by shutting down Google+ by next August, pulling the plug on a social network that it launched in 2011, in response to Facebook, but is widely regarded as a flop.
Google will limit Android apps' ability to access SMS data, call logs, and contacts.
The bug, which went undiscovered from 2015 until March of this year, according to The WSJ, allowed developers to access personal data from the connections of people who had installed their app, even if those people didn't give permission for their information to be accessed. Google is finally killing its awful social network Google+. No developer exploited the vulnerability or misused data, the company's review found.
The company did a review of its third party developer access to Google accounts and Android device data and found a bug in the Google + People APIs.
Google in a blog post said that the security bug was discovered and immediately patched in March 2018. Ben Smith, Google's VP of Engineering, disclosed more information about the security issue, and how it was discovered.
Google on Monday said it has chose to shut down its social media network, Google+.
A Google spokesperson cited "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers" expectations" along with "very low usage' as the reasons for the move.
"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds".
"We are shutting down Google+ for consumers", Smith added, admitting that the product was, at best, underwhelming. Around 438 apps could have used this API, states Google.