Whether the subject is confidential business information or good old-fashioned gossip, there are few prospects more likely to terrify Google Talk users than that of their messages going to the wrong person. However, starting early in the morning September 26, many users reported experiencing such an error, prompting Google to respond and issue a fix for the service. While the problem was quickly solved, the issue offered a reminder that even minor problems from a developer standpoint can be particularly frightening to users.
According to users on Twitter and Google’s forums, the error caused messages sent over Google Hangouts and Google Talk to mistakenly be sent to the wrong recipients. ZDNet reported that there was no apparent pattern in which users were affected or whom the wrong messages were sent to, and, according to the Verge, some users even reported that people outside their contact lists were receiving messages.
“my gchats are going to multiple people when i try to gchat one person,” wrote Twitter user Laura Royden, who tweets under the handle @roydraging. “THIS IS A TERRIFYING SITUATION.”
Google announced on its site that it had located the problem and was working on a fix, and it later noted the problem was resolved as of September 27 at 2:00 p.m. ET. While the damage to users appears to have been minimal, the issue underscored the challenge of errors cropping up in customer-facing services, as even small glitches can prompt rapid response on social media outlets and elsewhere. To minimize such occurrences, developers can use tools like static analysis software to catch mistakes and eliminate small errors.
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