Feeds

Google glitch loses user data

Malfunctioning personalized homepage has users fuming

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated [This story was updated on April 27 to indicate that Google says it has resolved the problem and was able to restore user settings. Users posting on Google discussion groups would seem to confirm this.]

Google users are going ape crap after settings and data they've amassed over months have suddenly gone missing from their personalized homepage. According to the posts of hundreds of users on Google's discussion boards, sticky notes, tabs, links and other customized settings vanished earlier today.

Personalized homepages allow users to add local weather, email inboxes, headlines and other features to the start page they see each time they fire up Google. But evidently, not today, at least not for everyone. While some users reported their personalized pages had effectively vaporized, others said settings had reverted back to those used several months ago.

According to a post from an official Google representative going by the name of Jaimie, exterminators are "in frantic-chase-down-this-bug mode here at the Googleplex". Jaimie said they still don't know what is causing the problem, but they are advising people not to alter their personalized pages because that may only make things worse.

"The big question I know you'll all want answered is whether you'll get your homepage back once we sort things out... and the really honest answer is that I hope so, but I just don't know yet," Jaimie added. That has done little to calm frayed nerves.

"This is an answer that I would like not to hear," a user named Teo replied. "People stored data on the personalized homepage trusting Google: it would be vary bad for your image if you lost all the data. Should we still trust gmail?"

Over the years, the many free services offered by Google and its competitors have become indispensable to many of us, but they also bring to mind the old adage that we get what we pay for. And Google's personalized homepage isn't the only such service to show signs of untrustworthiness.

Recently, hackers have discovered that Google Calendar can be a trove of information for outsiders looking for details about conference calls and other group events that organizers presumably wanted to keep private. Want proof? Log in to Google Calendar and search for "moderator passcode." (Our thanks to the folks at Zero Day for the useful search term.)

In all likelihood, you'll now have phone numbers and entry codes for hundreds of presumably private conference calls. With a little imagination, who knows what else you can find? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.