September 26, 2013
Google Glitch Confuses GTalk And Hangout Users
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Earlier today some Google Hangout and GTalk users reported having their messages sent to the wrong recipients. Some users say their messages were either sent to an entirely different person in their contact list or were sent to multiple contacts at once. This sort of bug not only presents a potentially serious privacy issue but also makes for some confusing conversations.
Users began noticing the issue earlier this morning, around 4:30 AM Eastern. Moments later Google acknowledged the issue on their Apps Status Dashboard and began working on a fix. In a statement to the Verge, Google said they have since identified the problem and that services should be “gradually returning to normal."
As happens any time a cloud service is disrupted or begins acting strangely, users began to ask one another about their particular experiences on social networks. There was much conversation on Twitter between users who were either confused by odd messages they had received or concerned for their privacy. Users also took to the official Google product forums to discuss their problems as well.
“Some minutes ago, I received a chat from someone and answered it in that same chat window on my gmail browser,” wrote a user operating under the name “Gentle Dom.”
“Then I received an answer by someone else (D. B.) thanking me for that message but saying it was probably not inteded (sic) for her - which it obviously had not been since I had typed it in the chat window that was open.”
Twitter user @Sillikat tweeted: “How can anyone trust Google Talk again? "Messages on GTalk going to strangers outside contact list."
The GTalk and Hangout bug is the second such issue to affect Google users this week. On Monday Gmail and Google Docs experienced brief outages, causing some to miss their emails and have zero access to critical files. The issue was first addressed by the Apps Status Dashboard at 10:25 AM Eastern on Monday morning. Google posted updates each hour about the outages, saying Gmail users may have their messages delayed and attachments may not be sent.
redOrbit.com staff confirmed the outage and had their own operations briefly disrupted. Service was finally restored to users by 3:00 PM EST, though Twitter users continued to discuss the outage.
A bug similar to today’s appeared in Skype’s system last July. Though the company insisted the bug only affected a small number of users, saying messages were misdirected in “rare circumstances.”
The Skype bug might have been more troubling for some users, as people who weren’t even signed in to the service reported receiving messages from unknown contacts. The GTalk bug, it seemed, only sent messages to those in a user’s contact list rather than random strangers.