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Google Bug Communications Privacy

GMail Chat/GTalk Sending Chats To Wrong Recipients 109

Posted by timothy
from the careful-who-sees-you-polishing-the-resume dept.
mystikkman writes "In what is a serious bug, GMail Chat/GTalk/Google Hangouts is sending messages to unintended recipients. ZDNet has confirmed first-hand that the glitch is present within Google Apps for Business accounts, including those that have not yet switched over to Google's new Hangouts platform. Messages appear to be visible on the mobile version of Hangouts. There are multiple reports of this issue."
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GMail Chat/GTalk Sending Chats To Wrong Recipients

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  • by suso (153703) * on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:10AM (#44959635) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, that was a mistake, how many times have I accidentally rebooted Linux because I was trying to login to my windows vm.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:15AM (#44959709)

      /slowclap Bravo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Can't tell if this is an actual mistake or the best post ever.

    • Re:Ctrl-alt-del (Score:5, Informative)

      by SonicBurst (546373) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:20AM (#44959801) Homepage
      Whomever modded this offtopic needs to read the front page. And then mod it funny.
      • by Mashiki (184564)

        It was probably deliberate, welcome to the new host of /. mod trolls.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Nerdfest (867930)

          I'm a regular poster and haven't had mod points in over two years. I'm getting a little annoyed.

          • by Yetihehe (971185) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:30AM (#44960691)

            On the other hand I post very rarely and sometimes I have mod points even when I don't post. Maybe somehow slashdot also sends mod points to wrong users?

            • by Kjella (173770)

              Well I'm not sure why but whenever I take a break from posting (holidays or whatever) I often end up with mod points. I don't know if it's their way of keeping you hooked or to avoid that you stop commenting to mod instead, but they seem to give them out when you're not very active.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            I think that's an intentional part of the mod point allocation algorithm. Try posting less.

            • Yeah, I've commented [slashdot.org] about the issue a couple of times.

              What purpose does it really serve? I'm not sure if it makes sense to not hand mod points to you if you comment a lot. We already have a system where you can't mod and post to the same discussion anyway. I have always assumed that the motivation behind that is that you would be partial to cast votes on the same discussion on which you speak. That's basically a good idea.

              What about a system where you would get 1 mod point per day, with a maximum of 5 mod

    • Re:Ctrl-alt-del (Score:4, Informative)

      by geek (5680) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:22AM (#44959813) Homepage

      Yeah, that was a mistake, how many times have I accidentally rebooted Linux because I was trying to login to my windows vm.

      Comedy fucking gold. Bravo to you sir

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      Where are mod points when you need them?
    • I remember this actually happened on Slashdot a few years back. I believe this post [slashdot.org] provides the breakdown of what happened (or a similar goof).
    • I've actually done one better (or worse, actually). In the data center at work, there was a rack of Linux servers running Oracle databases & apps, and 1 Windows server (the backup server). The KVM was *always* set to the Windows box, and I'd occasionally log in to it to do something or other; it was my "main" Windows box where I had all my odd & ends (jumpbox/utilities/etc).

      So the routine was, pull out the KVM, flip up the screen, hit Ctl-Alt-Del, start typing my user name as the screen faded to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:13AM (#44959679)

    > GMail Chat/GTalk Sending Chats To Wrong Recipients

    You mean besides the NSA?

    • Still better than iMessage for Android aka i-send-your-login-to-China-Message

    • by cod3r_ (2031620)
      NSA backdoor is what is causing the bug. Wish they'd test their shit before they just infringed on our privacy.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Reports are emerging that another bug in GTalk is causing computers to catch on fire. This caused a 200% increase in the Google Hangouts user base going up to a record high of 18 people.

    • I can't speak for all demographics, but as a 25-year-old, a large amount of people in my age group across different professional disciplines use GTalk throughout the workday. So from my perspective, who isn't using GTalk?

  • by Dunbal (464142) *
    Someone needs to tame that wild pointer before it pokes someone in the eye! Seriously though, isn't this part of all that "information sharing" we're doing now, since nothing is private anymore and the gov't feels entitled to read your email?
  • by geek (5680)

    Snowden told us about this already. Google's been sending them to the NSA for years.

  • I sent Christie an email asking her to meet me at the lobby at a hotel I'm saying here in Paris. No wonder my wife called this morning to find out what I'm doing in Paris with Christie. I told her I'm reading slashdot at my best buddy's basement.
  • According to http://www.google.com/appsstatus [google.com] it seems to have been fixed
  • Google = buggy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:40AM (#44960023) Journal

    I'm often amazed by how buggy Google software is. They have more money than they know what to do with and yet they put out some of the buggiest software. Google Drive is a disaster. I love Google Earth and use it daily but it crashed about 3 times yesterday. Maybe they should invest some of that money in quality control.

    • Re:Google = buggy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geek (5680) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:47AM (#44960151) Homepage

      I'm often amazed by how buggy Google software is. They have more money than they know what to do with and yet they put out some of the buggiest software. Google Drive is a disaster. I love Google Earth and use it daily but it crashed about 3 times yesterday. Maybe they should invest some of that money in quality control.

      I was saying this same thing a couple weeks ago to a friend. Google software is notoriously bad in quality. They have what seems to be zero QA and just release everything as beta. That was great when they were solely a tech company targeting the tech savy but they are mainstream now and targeting everyone.

      I honestly can't think of anything of theirs that isn't buggy as hell. Nice tech but the user experience is very low for a company that prides itself on the quality of its engineers.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Nice tech but the user experience is very low for a company that prides itself on the quality of its engineers.

        I know... it's such a shame that the engineers are busy building the cool tech, so they aren't helping out the design and sales team with their brilliance.

        • by geek (5680)

          Nice tech but the user experience is very low for a company that prides itself on the quality of its engineers.

          I know... it's such a shame that the engineers are busy building the cool tech, so they aren't helping out the design and sales team with their brilliance.

          What does the sales team have to do with it? Oh yeah, nothing, you're just being a douche. And yes, the engineers should be working with the design people. It's called team work and it's why Apple is able to delivery remarkably less buggy software with a good user experience while Google tosses shit at the wall hoping something sticks.

          • by QBasicer (781745)
            And then you have Apple Maps, yikes.
            • by geek (5680)

              Whats wrong with Apple Maps exactly? The app is solid. The complaints come from the data on the backend which simply needs time to mature. Google Maps was even worse when it started out.

          • by Nerdfest (867930)

            From what I've seen of iCloud, Apple could learn a lot about both quality, functionality, and openness. Some of their software seems pretty solid, but their web stuff seems flakey as hell.

            • by geek (5680)

              iCloud does go down a little more often than it should but Google's service have been down nearly as often this year. Just two days ago gmail was down. You really can't compare the cloud service to their software.

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            Sales teams are, in my experience, usually the ones running demos. Since they're generally not technology-minded people, they also make for decent testers, and can give valuable feedback about where interfaces aren't intuitive - usually because that's the point in the demo where they have to pull out the reassuring comments and distracting details to cover up how sloppy the system is.

            I agree that Google should be emphasizing teamwork to produce better interfaces, but that's utterly unrelated to the "quality

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        Interesting. I can't recall ever encountering a single bug in any Google app. Hell I've noticed more bugs from my freakin Nintendo than from Google software...

        Of course, I don't use Google Drive, or Earth or anything like that...just search, gmail, youtube, voice, android, plus....

    • Of the big, valuable, 'hot' companies, they all are producing increasingly dubious products.

      Netflix loves to crash on me and keel off midstream ever so often. Then of course there are the outages. All this whilst their team brags about how awesome they are at availability.

      Apple has had a litany of clock mistakes, unlock screen bypass, and of course the maps situation. I will say I don't use Apple products, so this is second hand experience.

      Amazon... well about the only thing that seems to work really wel

    • What kind of bugs do you have with Google Drive? My company uses it for a spreadsheet that 3-4 people make changes to with another 3-4 additional viewers. The one problem I have is the constant pauses and disconnects. I'm sick of the "working" and "ooooops we lost all your shit" messages. I've taken to keeping notepad open and typing everything in there and pasting it from there when it starts acting up.

      I haven't been keeping up on other free alternatives - if there's something better out there I'll swit
      • The one problem I have is the constant pauses and disconnects. I'm sick of the "working" and "ooooops we lost all your shit" messages

        Those sound like serious bugs.

    • by jittles (1613415)

      I'm often amazed by how buggy Google software is. They have more money than they know what to do with and yet they put out some of the buggiest software. Google Drive is a disaster. I love Google Earth and use it daily but it crashed about 3 times yesterday. Maybe they should invest some of that money in quality control.

      And to add insult to injury, the latest version of gmail will not let you attach a document to an email without first uploading it to drive. I am sure it works fine if you use an imap mail client, but the web-client is no good.

      • by cusco (717999)

        Since when? I sent my friend some photos of our anniversary party just yesterday, and it worked fine.

        • by jittles (1613415)

          Since when? I sent my friend some photos of our anniversary party just yesterday, and it worked fine.

          Photos you can send. Not "Office" documents. And that was as of night before last, at the latest. Any none-image format has to be uploaded to drive first.

          • by cusco (717999)

            Just sent myself a Word document. Attached it as normal. I'm using the free consumer version, not sure if that makes a difference.

            • by jittles (1613415)

              Just sent myself a Word document. Attached it as normal. I'm using the free consumer version, not sure if that makes a difference.

              Seriously? Did they upgrade you to the new inbox yet? For my business account it works as usual, but my personal account will not let me attach anything except from Drive. This was via Safari on OS X. I didn't try any other browsers or platforms.

      • by heypete (60671)

        And to add insult to injury, the latest version of gmail will not let you attach a document to an email without first uploading it to drive. I am sure it works fine if you use an imap mail client, but the web-client is no good.

        Sure you can.

        Attachments that are too large (either exceeding the Gmail size limit or that of well-known recipient domains that Gmail knows about) will prompt you to upload the attachment to drive rather than trying to attach it directly.

        That's actually a pretty handy, user-friendly thing to do.

        • by jittles (1613415)

          And to add insult to injury, the latest version of gmail will not let you attach a document to an email without first uploading it to drive. I am sure it works fine if you use an imap mail client, but the web-client is no good.

          Sure you can.

          Attachments that are too large (either exceeding the Gmail size limit or that of well-known recipient domains that Gmail knows about) will prompt you to upload the attachment to drive rather than trying to attach it directly.

          That's actually a pretty handy, user-friendly thing to do.

          I was trying to attach a 25kb word document. I could do so from my business account but not from my personal account. It kept taking me to Drive. Maybe something buggy was going on, but it would not let me. You're not the first person to tell me this. Now I know they just recently updated my inbox - it appears differently on gmail for iOS and gmail for Android than my business account. Perhaps this has something to do with it?

    • Re:Google = buggy (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:44AM (#44960849) Journal
      You shouldn't be surprised when they have engineers who publicly say things [google.com] like "bugs are no big deal. They happen anyway, no matter how hard you try to prevent them, and somehow life goes on." (if you read the article you'll see he said "bugs are no big deal" in bold).

      So stop worrying. When Google Earth crashes, it's no big deal. The fact that a message intended for my girl friend got sent to my sister-in-law, no big deal.
    • Just out of curiosity, exactly how much money have you paid Google for their software?
      • Just out of curiosity, exactly how much money have you paid Google for their software?

        Enough to complain when it breaks. Service is free, complaints are free.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Just out of curiosity, exactly how much money have you paid Google for their software?

        My ISP is paying them to mismanage my email and search through it for juicy tidbits and advertising hints, and I pay my ISP, so indirectly, I'm paying them a bundle.

        Also, my Uni is now paying them for cloud services and pushing us to use them, so my taxes are paying them even more.

        What was your point again?

    • by sycodon (149926)

      I regularly get email that is clearly addressed to someone else. The addresses are similar like RSmith and R.Smith. I mentioned it to Google several years ago and they dismissed it. Sometime "smart" people can be real dicks.

      • by luder (923306) *

        rsmith@gmail.com and r.smith@gmail.com are exactly the same email address. Same for r.s.m.i.t.h@gmail.com.

        That problem usually happens when you use the email r.smith@gmail.com and the sender is trying to email rsmith2@gmail.com, but forgets the number and instead emails rsmith@gmail.com. I get that kind of emails very often, too, but I can't see what google could do here.

    • I love Google Earth and use it daily but it crashed about 3 times yesterday

      You should ask Google for a refund of the purchase price.

  • Beta (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:56AM (#44960285)

    Such bugs are usually there in Beta releases. This will be fixed in the Production Release.

    • by Sez Zero (586611)

      Such bugs are usually there in Beta releases. This will be fixed in the Production Release.

      No, these bugs are in beta. In the production release, they'll be full-blown vulnerabilities or exploits.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Google does not release software for production. They have Idea, Alpha, Beta, User Testing, and Rewrite.

  • It's working as designed, the NSA was an intended recipient... oh, sorry, wrong story.
  • This shouldn't even be counted as a bug; it's merely the publicity for a crippling design flaw. Why? Because it doesn't matter if the wrong recipient gets a message, since the wrong recipient won't have the private key in order to decrypt the message. Sounds like just a minor delivery bug.

    Wait... whaddya mean, "whaddya mean, 'key'?"? This is a chat system designed after 1991, and it still doesn't encrypt? Google, you're a few decades behind, when it comes to the tech that our 386s are able to handle.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      That was my thought at first, but it's still possible to make this kind of mistake with public key encryption. If the software sends your message to the wrong person, it would probably encrypt with the wrong public key as well.

  • Are telling me the chat I got about winning the Nigerian Lottery might have been meant for someone else?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are telling me the chat I got about winning the Nigerian Lottery might have been meant for someone else?

      Yes, it was meant for me, but if you provide me with your bank account info, and send me half the fee's for getting the money release, I'll split it with you.

      • by NEDHead (1651195)

        That seems perfectly reasonable, but since I don't know you perhaps you could give my friend here a wad of cash as earnest money just so I know I can trust you.

  • So they send all posts to NSA?

  • First, you update the Maps app to combine Navigation, and it TOTALLY SUCKS (thank goodness for my Titanium Backup of the older version.) Next, the abomination that is the new Nexus 7. And now, this. How about a little QA, guys?!

    While you're at it, please fix the GVoice texting functionality. Receiving texts the day after they were sent is a little pathetic.

    You're still the best thing going, but don't be complacent.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Coincidence or not, but today I received an out of office reply to an outlook invite sent internally to someone I know at another company. Instead of replying to the sender of the invite, at the same company, GMail seems to have picked my name from the contacts and sent it to me (EXTERNAL). WTF Google? Now I am waiting for something totally confidential to come my way. Note to black hats: get yourself into the contact list of as many people as possible using GMail. You never know what leaks out ...

  • In what is serious understatement...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    C'mon everyone, this is a feature, not a bug! Anyone want to chatroulette?

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