The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

Google has confirmed that a software bug in its Google Docs online applcation service exposed documents thought to be privately stored.The problem was fixed by the weekend, and is believed to have affected only half a percent of the digital documents at a Google Docs service that provides text-handling programs as services on the Internet.

Google has confirmed that a software bug in its Google Docs online applcation service exposed documents thought to be privately stored.

The problem was fixed by the weekend, and is believed to have affected only half a percent of the digital documents at a Google Docs service that provides text-handling programs as services on the Internet.

Google Docs Product Manager Jennifer Mazzon wrote the following in a message on the official Google Docs blog on Saturday:

"We've identified and fixed a bug where a very small percentage of users shared some of their documents inadvertently."

"We're sorry for the trouble this has caused. We understand our users' concerns (in fact, we were affected by this bug ourselves) and we're treating this very seriously."

According to Google, the problem occurred in cases where people had chosen to collaborate on multiple documents and adjusted settings to allow access to others. Collaborators were unintentionally given permission to access documents aside from the ones intended.

"As part of the fix, we used an automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents that we identified as having been affected," Mazzon said.

"We then emailed the document owners to point them to their affected documents in case they need to re-share them."

Google and other companies (such as Drop.io) are encouraging users to migrate online software-as-a-service and other offerings "in the cloud," instead of using desktop software. The companies insist the move is safe, but just where do you draw the line?

Small as it is, is half a percent too risky for the cloud?

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