In the blog post, Google said it did not immediately announce the problems with Google+ because it was not sure which users to inform, who they were and what affected users could do to protect themselves.
In what has become an all-too-familiar scenario, the decision is subject to claim and counter-claim: The Wall Street Journal today alleged that Google covered up a programming blunder that would have exposed people's private Google+ account data to app developers, all because the advertising giant didn't want to have to deal with the PR and regulatory fallout from admitting it screwed up.
Google goes "beyond legal requirements" and applies "several criteria focused on our users" when deciding whether to provide notice, a spokesperson said in a statement. "It's that Google's execs knowingly avoided disclosing an issue because they knew it'd invite gov scrutiny & bad PR".
Wall Street Journal also reported that Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users as it would result in an immediate regulatory interest.
" The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations", the company said.
"Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network", Smith says. However, the firm "found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".
The company cited the reason of the closure as the fact that Google+ had failed to achieve "broad consumer or developer adoption".
Google says that starting next year, only Gmail apps "directly enhancing email functionality-such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services)" will be authorized to access inbox data.
Interested in Google? Add Google as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Google news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Similarly, there was no evidence that any profile data was stolen, sold, or otherwise misused.
Finally, app access to Call Logs and SMS on Android are going to be limited moving forward.
Google's plan to withdraw the free version of Google+, scheduled for August, could help strengthen its case to U.S. 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. In other words, when an app requests access to Google account data, multiple dialog boxes pop up, each with a request for a particular permission, rather than one large dialog box with all the requested permissions (i.e. location, contacts, calendars) lumped together.