Google fixes Gmail bug that re-sent e-mail messages

The glitch turned the affected Gmail users into accidental spammers

A Gmail bug that caused messages to be re-sent multiple times, mortifying senders and annoying recipients, has been fixed, Google said Thursday.

The bug began causing trouble several days ago, but the bulk of the complaints hit the official Gmail Help Forum on Tuesday, as Gmail users reported that some of their messages were being delivered repeatedly to some recipients, sometimes over a span of days.

The problem was solved on Thursday at around 1:30 a.m. Eastern Time and no duplicate messages should be going out anymore, according to information Google provided in the forum and in the Google Apps Status Dashboard.

Google isn't saying exactly how many Gmail users were affected. It said that the bug hit "less than 2.5 percent of Gmail users." A spokeswoman said the Gmail user base is in the "hundreds of millions." Thus, it's possible that those affected ranged from hundreds of thousands to several million Gmail users, not counting the recipients of the messages.

The "Composing and Sending Messages" section of the Gmail Help Forum has been flooded with hundreds of complaints from users who, because of the bug, found themselves in hot water with current and prospective employers, clients, bosses, partners and personal acquaintances.

Some users posted in the forum that as a result of the glitch, their e-mail addresses had been added to spam blacklists, blocking them from reaching entire universes of users in certain domains.

Gmail is available as a free service for individuals and as the e-mail component of the hosted Google Apps communication and collaboration suite, which comes in free and fee-based versions.

A Google employee identified in the Gmail Help Forum as MrEvan apologized on behalf of the company. "Thank you again for the patience you have shown, and sincerest apologies for the inconvenience this has caused you. I too have friends and professional contacts and absolutely understand the value of those relationships and how it could be very frustrating to have bothered some of those folks unintentionally," he wrote.

Google hasn't explained what went wrong from a technical perspective.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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