Google exposed user data, feared repercussions of disclosing to public

The move comes after the internet search giant revealed that a security glitch had exposed the personal data of around 5,00,000 Google Plus users.

The company says it discovered and patched the issue in March but decided not to disclose it immediately.

Google plans to shut down its social network and announce new privacy measures in response to the incident, the paper said.

Further speaking on the issue, Google has said that they have no evidence that any outside developer has misused users private data. "None of these thresholds were met here".

In a statement, Google said it believed the problem was not serious enough to inform the public. Third-party SMS apps will still be allowed, but they can only access this data if the user sets the app as their default for text messaging. The company detected a bug in Google Plus's People APIs which granted permission for apps to access the static data from user's profiles with private marks on it.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.

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"The snafu threatens to give Google a black eye on privacy after public assurances that it was less susceptible to data gaffes like those that have befallen Facebook", the Journal said.

Google says it began reviewing developer access at the start of this year, so these new policies might have arrived even without the WSJ's reporting. "We made a decision to sunset the consumer version of Google+", the company said in the post.

The Wall Street Journal also claimed Google didn't want to "invite comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica". They identified that nearly 38 applications might have used this API.

Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared. "While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption".

Besides low usage, Google+ engagement rates are also defeating, with 90-percent of all sessions lasting for under five seconds, according to Alphabet's subsidiary.

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