Furious Google Talk users have vented frustration on the product forums today after a major glitch allowed messages to be delivered to the wrong recipients.
The problem- which emerged earlier today- saw messages that were meant for a specific person being delivered to undesired recipients inside and outside of their contact lists.
For example: John is talking to contact A, but his messages are being sent to contact B instead. Contact B could respond confusingly, as they are receiving messages from another conversation. According to reports, contact B's response to John could even be sent to contact C instead.
These screenshots from blogger Vinay Kola, provide a visual explanation of the dilemma.
A message from Karthikeyan meant for Vinay ended up going to another user, Aman.
The issue has caused dozens of users to complain of privacy violations. Google forum user “mattiaz” says this problem has been one of the worst issues he has encountered through the service.
“Google, this is a major screwup, fix this asap and dont ever let it happen again, otherwise ppl will abandond your services. This is the worst security issue I've ever seen, it's worse than a virus.”
This comes as a blunder for Google, whose engineers are working hard to rectify the situation. A status reveals the service could be disrupted during the maintenance. In the meanwhile, users are advised to be cautious when using the service. Keep in mind that your messages could end up being read by a complete stranger, so it's advised not to talk about private issues. Thankfully, there are no known reports of sensitive personal information - such as bank details - that have been exposed. Google suggests the following remedies for the meantime:
- Did you try another browser? Did you clear browser cache & cookies? Did you try disabling all browser extensions/add-ons?
- Did you try manually updating the plugin?
- Do you meet the minimum requirements?
- Did you check out our Known Issues page?