The company said that it often notifies users when there are security issues and flaws and user data is affected, but its privacy and data protection office said the bug did not meet the threshold.
Google shuttered its consumer Google+ site, after the company discovered a software glitch that gave outsiders potential access to private profile data.
The memo viewed by the Journal said that disclosing the incident publicly would possibly trigger "immediate regulatory interest" and do damage to the company's reputation. In a blog post by the company highlighting its findings, it's stated that 90 percent of all Google+ visits last fewer than five seconds.
Google's own social media platform i.e. Google+ is now shutting down permanently for consumers.
Google+ is widely seen as one of Google's biggest failures, the WSJ says. The company said however, that the information that was accessible consisted of a user's name, email address, occupation, gender and age.
CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee.
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.
"Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice", a Google spokesman said in a statement to WSJ.
Several policies Google introduced on Monday are created to curb the data accessible to developers offering mobile apps on the Google Play store or add-on apps for sending and organizing Gmail messages. Google explains Strobe as "a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps' data access".
Google is pulling the plug on its flagship social network Google+ after data from up to 500,000 users was left exposed by a bug.
"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", Google admitted today. The shut down will take place over a 10 month period, with the social network shutting down in August 2019. This should translate to only your default phone and texting apps having access to your call and SMS data. There is no suggestion that any credit card or bank information was exposed, but exposing private information about individuals can make them more vulnerable to fraud. They'll further limit these permissions by removing contact interaction data for the Android Contacts API.