Google 'frantic' about Personalized Home Page glitch

Google Incorporated's Personalized Home Page service, which lets users turn Google.com into a customized portal, is suffering from an apparently significant technical problem that is reverting some of the home pages to old versions or to their original default settings. Angry users have lit up discussion boards on Thursday, complaining about the problem and expressing frustration at the possibility that they have lost the time they spent customizing their pages, while lamenting the hit on productivity the issue has caused them.

The problem affects an unknown portion of Personalized Home Page users. A Google official posting to one of the longer threads about the problem wrote in a message at 12:25 p.m. ET that Google is in "frantic-chase-down-this-bug mode here at the Googleplex, and I hope to have more info for you soon. It's possible that changing your homepage theme might cause the problem. So, if you still have your homepage intact, please avoid changing your theme until further notice." The official, posting under the name Google Guide Jaime, acknowledged that Google engineers are in the dark about the cause of the problem.

Alarmingly, he also acknowledged it's not clear whether users will be able to recover their customized pages. The first problems were apparently reported at around 6 a.m. ET on Thursday. This, among other issues, is one of the risks of relying on hosted applications providers, a system Google is ironically particularly fond of.

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks Ashl)
News source: InfoWorld

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13 Comments

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Yes, happened to me too, and after being thoroughly confused and triple checking my cookies and browser settings, I simply added the stuff back. It didn't take me more than a few minutes anyway.

As for the Google guy thinking:

It's possible that changing your homepage theme might cause the problem.

No, I had not done anything like that. It just suddenly reverted to some weird or really old version of the page (couldn't tell, I didn't even recognize the setup), while I was using the standard theme.

Edit: Looks like Google has restored pages gone bad and not updated manually by the user since:
http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Web_...d7c12a5fb06d33c
http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Web_...605951a8f08876d

So they had backups of them after all, good to hear.

Happened to me too, but I just popped everything back. Not too much of a biggy. I hadn't changed my theme though so Google your bug idea is WRONG! (or at least there's another :P)

Wow my Name got mentioned... anyway good luck to them getting it back up. i've decided it's not actually so bad if I've lsot mine since it was generally only a few things I know anyway like here and the BBC and google calendar so not to hard getting them back up.

What? No news article (yet) of a class action lawsuit over this? Must be a slow day or something, 'cause nearly every other bad thing that has happened lately was usually followed in short order by a cryout for class action lawsuit... (And yes, I'm being sarcastic! )

I'm pritty upset about this i first noticed it at work and assumed it was my browser but its been like it all night i started playing around and started rebuilding my home page hope that doesn't mean i lose my page, i spent allot of time building that thing.

I'm very lucky it was google that messed up and not microsoft. I would be extremely annoyed if live.com was unavailable to me. Let's hope Google can retrieve the pages.

yup i've had this problem but it's hardly the end of the world. I've used the personalized home page for ages now and it's great.

I use netvibes.com. They have an option to save the page settings locally so that they won't get lost if anything happens to the account.