A bug in their Google+ People APIs, which potentially exposed the data of over 500.000 users and was promptly patched in March 2018.
Google says it will give users a 10-month period to transition out of Google+, slated for completion by the end of next August. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", wrote Ben Smith, a Google vice president of engineering.
To make matters worse, Google decided not to share knowledge of the data breach when it was discovered in March.
Details of the flaw were released not by Google, however, but by the Wall Street Journal, which cites anonymous sources plus leaked internal documentation as providing proof that Google knew about the issue but actively chose to hide it from users.
Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared.
Analysts are also expecting Google to add higher resolution and more cameras to the Pixel, whose first two generations attracted rave reviews for its high-quality pictures. No developer exploited the vulnerability or misused data, the company's review found.
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The US internet giant said it will "sunset" the Google+ social network for consumers, which failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook. In fact, 90%of Google+ user sessions only last less than five seconds. In addition, Google Account permissions dialog boxes will be split to show each requested permission, one at a time, within its own dialog box.
In addition to shutting down Google+, Google also said that it will limit the access it gives to developers to user data on Android devices and Gmail.
But though Google is trying to downplay the significance of the incident, it's likely to have bigger repercussions for the company.
Google's plan to withdraw the free version of Google+, scheduled for August, could help strengthen its case to US policymakers and regulators that it is different from Facebook, which has faced political heat over allegations that data belonging to 87 million of its users was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
David C. Vladeck, former director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection and now a Georgetown Law professor, said the new Google+ incident is "obviously a problem for Google".