Google is shutting its underwhelming Plus social network for regular users, following the disclosure of a flaw discovered in March that exposed personal information of up to 500,000 people.
The announcement came in a Monday blog post, which was Google’s first public description of the privacy bug.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said Google deliberately avoided disclosing the problem at the time, in part to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny.
The Google Plus flaw could have allowed 438 external apps to scoop up user names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age without authorisation.
According to Ben Smith, Google Vice President of Engineering, “the bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.”
He also said that the data “s limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age” and does not include other data that may have been posted of connected to Google+ or anything other service.
The company says it did not find evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused. It says that is one reason it delayed disclosing the problem