Gmail promo for Priority Inbox creeps out Chrome users

Bug triggers background music, sparks malware fears

Chrome users yesterday bombarded Google's Gmail support forum with complaints about music suddenly playing in the background when they reached their inboxes.

Some feared that their machines had been infected with malware.

"Those sound effects are quite unnerving when you first hear it," said a user identified as "goz3" on the Gmail support board . "I really thought it was some sort of twisted virus."

"I thought it was a virus, too," echoed "bradleyctclarke" on the same thread.

The cause, said a Google representative on the support forum, was a video promoting the e-mail service's new Priority Inbox feature.

Although the Google support rep said that the company was "working on fixing this" and apologized for the bug, Computerworld confirmed that the background video and its ragtime-style music was still affecting Chrome users on Tuesday.

Other browsers, such as Safari and Firefox, did not automatically fire up the video and its tune.

"I thought my account had been hacked -- especially when I heard the scrunching of paper," added goz3 in an earlier message Monday. "I thought, oh sh*t, my mail is being eaten up."

The unwanted music played only on machines running Chrome, and then only for users who have had the Priority Inbox feature enabled by Google. The new tool, designed to automatically rearrange messages to put the most important at the top of the inbox, is being rolled out in stages by Google, which yesterday said that it would reach everyone within the next week.

The gaffe is reminiscent of one Google made last May when a JavaScript-based version of the 1980 video game Pac-Man freaked out Firefox users , who heard siren sounds and offbeat music in the background when they were at the search engine 's home page.

"MAKE IT STOP!" shouted someone tagged as "bleepo" on Monday. "If I get some annoying sound or ad every time I open Gmail on Chrome it will be enough to make me not use it."

To quell the music, Chrome users should click on the Priority Inbox link in the upper right, then stop the video play in the pop-up window.

Some Chrome users thought their machines were infected with malware when Gmail suddenly started playing music.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetGooglee-commerceWeb 2.0 and Web Apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?