Google also said, more broadly, that it was going to strengthen consumer control over data shared with app developers.
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.
An internal committee decided not to disclose the potential breach of Google+ because there wasn't evidence of any misuse of the exposed data, which included names, email addresses, ages and occupations, Smith said.
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".
Google has already recently drawn controversy over its data collection practices.
Missing Interpol president ‘taken away’ by Chinese officials for questioning
China, in the midst of a weeklong holiday, has yet to comment on the 64-year-old security official's disappearance. Before taking over at Interpol, Meng Hongwei was deputy minister in charge of public security in China.
As a bit of a bright side, however, there was no evidence that any developer was even aware this bug existed, despite 438 applications using the API. That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence.
Meanwhile, it was announced today that a High Court judge in London blocked a mass legal action against Google over claims that it collected sensitive personal data from more than four million iPhone users. Google and Apple are both now giving users more control over their data and the ability to limit what third parties can access. Unfortunately, the reason they are finally shutting it down is because the service possibly exposed the data of 500,000 users' profiles. Google+ will be gradually discontinued over the next ten months, with the service being scheduled to completely shut down in late August of 2019.
The bug was patched two weeks after it was initially discovered (Google took two weeks to analyze the data before patching the hole), but has now made a decision to shut down Google+ as a consumer service. The office looks at what data was taken, what affected users need to be informed, if there was any evidence of data abuse, and whether or not users could effectively respond.
Google will wind down Google+ during the coming 10 months to allow people time to download pictures, videos or other data they want from their accounts.
The internet giant found the flaw in March during an extensive privacy and security review, Ben Smith, Google vice president of engineering, said in the statement.