Some Gmail accounts were cleaned out

Some Gmail accounts were cleaned out

Summary: Several users (around 60 according to Google) experienced something that could damage the trust some users have in Gmail.  The affected users report that all email and contacts in their Gmail accounts were permanently deleted by no action of their own.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Collaboration
7

Several users (around 60 according to Google) experienced something that could damage the trust some users have in Gmail.  The affected users report that all email and contacts in their Gmail accounts were permanently deleted by no action of their own.  Michael Arrington wrote about the problem earlier today and received this response from a Google representative.

We saw your post today about Gmail and wanted to let you know what was going on.

Regretfully, a small number of our users — around 60 — lost some or all of their email received prior to December 18th. Once we found out about this issue, we worked day and night to confirm that only a few accounts were affected and to do whatever we could to restore as much of the users’ accounts as we could. We’ve also reached out to the people who were affected to apologize and to work with them to restore the email from any personal backup they might have.

We know how important Gmail is to our users – we use it ourselves for our corporate email. We have extensive safeguards in place to protect email stored with Gmail and we are confident that this is a small and isolated incident.

Google is handling the situation well and doing some damage control by reaching out to affected users.  It's true that Google probably isn't to blame for what happened -- Firefox had a flaw in version 2.0.0.0 that might be the root of the problem as Arrington reports.  If this is the culprit, users of version 2.0.0.1 should be safe from the attack.

Topic: Collaboration

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

7 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 60 people...How many people use Gmail?

    This sounds like it could just be a fluke, not even related to Firefox. What kind of bug would only affect 60 people out of Gmail's entire userbase??
    bhartman36
  • What's going on ?

    I hope Google is more forthcoming about what actually happened - not merely to the 60 people directly affected, but also to others, who, like myself, save a great deal of valuable email on Gmail's servers, in the belief that it will be retrievable....

    Henri
    mhenriday
  • Nothing New

    This happens with Gmail periodically. It's still considered "beta" by Google. And this text on the login page should be read as a disclaimer since they use the word "experiment":

    "Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want."

    Gmail supports POP3. There's no reason you can't download your messages with any number of free email programs and save them. You can zip them, store them on a thumb driver, or store them on an external drive if your hard drive is too full.
    DaffyDuck
    • That would be news to Google, and their customers

      http://blogs.zdnet.com/Murphy/?p=766

      It would appear they are hosting customers' email accounts for profit. That would certainly invalidate the whole claim of "hey, it's only beta". Just because they leave "beta" tagged on everything, money and contracts trump that graphic.
      ejhonda
  • Gmail vs Hotmail - Hotmail worse

    I used to use Hotmail for a couple of years, and that was about 8 years ago, but gave up using Hotmail after losing everything in my account SEVERAL times, as did other Hotmail users, including my husband's account.

    If Gmail only had that happen to 60 users then Gmail is free email users GOD!

    I've also used other free email services, including Yahoo, and Gmail wins hands down as far as I'm concerned.

    Gmail... Keep Up The Great Work!
    DAsAngel
    • Hotmail did the same thing to me

      I have a 'paid' hotmail account as part of my qwest dsl service, after it losing my data and forgetting I had an account more than once, I stopped using them. At least with my aol account (first as a paid account, now for the past several years as a free account), it has not done this (yet) in the 10+ years I've been using it...
      jaybyrd
  • Firefox the culprit?

    If this transpires to be the real problem, then one needs to ask what caused it (obviously) and is this possible in Safari or Opera or even Explorer. I maintain that more of this will happen with Open Source apps in future, mainly because no-one has to really sweat the small stuff. And that unfortunately includes Google, who maintains that Gmail is a beta! BTW, how do I back up my GMAIL...?
    ANUBUS