Google said on Monday that hundreds of thousands of people who used its Google+ social network may have been affected by a security flaw that the company says it discovered and fixed in March. According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the vulnerability wasn't disclosed because Google didn't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers.
According to Smith, as many as 500,000 accounts could have been affected, and the data exposed could potentially include things such as name, occupation, or age - but not phone numbers or any other information stored on your Google account. Google claims it didn't report the incident right away as it didn't find any evidence of misuse of the profile data by any of the app developers.
The company went on to say that the bug, and the "very low usage of the consumer version of Google+', has made the company decide to 'sunset" the consumer version of the social network.
The revelation is what appears to be a series of security breaches among social media networking sites, following the infamous incidents involving Facebook and Twitter. Mr. Smith, however, announced that Google will not be shut down immediately.
The company cited the reason of the closure as the fact that Google+ had failed to achieve "broad consumer or developer adoption". This happened even when the user data was listed private.
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On Android, Google will limit apps ability to receive users call logs and short messaging service (SMS) data.
A data breach compromised the data of 500,000 users on the social network, but Google chose to keep the security incident a secret. "When an app prompts you for access to your Google account data, we always require that you see what data it has asked for, and you must grant it explicit permission", he said. Google says it fixed the issue as soon as it was discovered, but the awful part of this all is that Google opted not to disclose the breach to users, instead sweeping the situation under the rug, hoping nobody would notice.
Google has recently been at the center of a number of privacy breaches.
The decision to shutter Google+ is also a part of a bigger initiative by the search engine known as "Project Strobe".