Users reporting their Gmail accounts have reset; all emails erased [Update]

An abundance of Gmail users woke up today to find that their accounts have been reset; rendering all of their settings, their labels, their themes and addons, and more specifically their emails deleted.

Reports from users have been flooding Google's support forum all day with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of claims that their respective inboxes have been wiped out; users state that they are receiving a "500 server error, code 82" message when they log in but can still receive new messages.

It appears, however, that other Google services, like Docs and Calendar, are working as they should. The following was noted by Patrick Riley, a Gmail user, on Google's support forum:

Also my labels are reset to normal also. nothing (sic) else was affected google docs and calendar still have all my files. But this may have ended my career not being able to access my important emails.

As per usual, countless users have taken to Twitter, also, to express their frustration.

Google has officially acknowledged the situation and has stated that the issue is affecting less that .29% of their users; the company is reportedly working to restore all emails, as well.

Update: Google has revised their estimate of users affected by the error down from .29% to .08%

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dancedar said,
0.08 % of 200,000,000 is still a million users, which is plenty of upset.
I recommend backupify.com to anyone.

Try your math again. The result should be 160,000 people

Still a lot of people

Wow the levels of paranoia about Google are high. Google is pretty much the least evil company out there. They treat their users and employees great, I guess there are people out there that are determined to hate every company though!

Thankfully both of my gmail accounts are intact. =)

speaking of gmail and spam, i have been getting rather a large amount of spam in my inbox … the spam filter used to catch everything … beginning to think google is starting to slip, had to happen some time

xfodder said,
speaking of gmail and spam, i have been getting rather a large amount of spam in my inbox … the spam filter used to catch everything … beginning to think google is starting to slip, had to happen some time

must be something unique to you. i haven't noticed a change (except wow gold sellers, they always seem to get through by sp.ell.ing.li ke this..wo.uld.y.ou lik e.tobuy go l.d.iloveyoulo.nglon.gtim.e)

xfodder said,
speaking of gmail and spam, i have been getting rather a large amount of spam in my inbox … the spam filter used to catch everything … beginning to think google is starting to slip, had to happen some time

Gmail is one of the worst at letting spam get through. I have 2 accounts that I've NEVER given the address to anyone. I use it to forward my own stuff to from other accounts to save. Easily get 100+ spams a week in both of them.

Never have figured out why anyone would be saving 2000 e-mails, as one poster above stated above? That's so many, you can't possibly remember what you saved, or have time to sort through the junk!

I wouldn't trust Google with my emails. My Gmail address redirects to my Hotmail inbox. You could easily do the same -- try it and judge for yourself.

Despite what fanboys and apologists say, Gmail is an inferior webmail platform. Like Yahoo Mail, it has users but these are largely legacy users from the glory days. The web has moved on from second-generation search, but dinosaurs like Yahoo and Google have not. Gmail never beat Yahoo Mail, the latter still has many more users.

Some people reading this genuinely believe that Google is still cool and innovative. They are living in the past.

Google employees love to criticise their rivals (this is unprofessional and often underhanded behaviour), especially Microsoft -- and yet they can't provide the same level of service.

Do not trust Google's official figures for the number of affected accounts. If they were so on top of the problem, it wouldn't have happened. Remember, Google spends more on lobbying than Facebook and Apple combined -- propaganda masters.

Tim Acheson said,
I wouldn't trust Google with my emails. My Gmail address redirects to my Hotmail inbox. You could easily do the same -- try it and judge for yourself.

Despite what fanboys and apologists say, Gmail is an inferior webmail platform. Like Yahoo Mail, it has users but these are largely legacy users from the glory days. The web has moved on from second-generation search, but dinosaurs like Yahoo and Google have not. Gmail never beat Yahoo Mail, the latter still has many more users.

Some people reading this genuinely believe that Google is still cool and innovative. They are living in the past.

Google employees love to criticise their rivals (this is unprofessional and often underhanded behaviour), especially Microsoft -- and yet they can't provide the same level of service.

Do not trust Google's official figures for the number of affected accounts. If they were so on top of the problem, it wouldn't have happened. Remember, Google spends more on lobbying than Facebook and Apple combined -- propaganda masters.

Are you a bot? Same post 3 times...

Haters gonna spam, I guess.

I wouldn't trust Google with my emails. My Gmail address redirects to my Hotmail inbox. You could easily do the same -- try it and judge for yourself.

Despite what fanboys and apologists say, Gmail is an inferior webmail platform. Like Yahoo Mail, it has users but these are largely legacy users from the glory days. The web has moved on from second-generation search, but dinosaurs like Yahoo and Google have not. Gmail never beat Yahoo Mail, the latter still has many more users.

Some people reading this genuinely believe that Google is still cool and innovative. They are living in the past.

Google employees love to criticise their rivals (this is unprofessional and often underhanded behaviour), especially Microsoft -- and yet they can't provide the same level of service.

Do not trust Google's official figures for the number of affected accounts. If they were so on top of the problem, it wouldn't have happened. Remember, Google spends more on lobbying than Facebook and Apple combined -- propaganda masters.

Seeing that Google never deletes anything and keeps everything forever, I doubt you have anything to worry about.

Breach said,
Cloud is good. Local backup is better. Applies vice versa too.

In backup, there is the 3-2-1 rule (which i don't follow ):
- 3 copies of everything
- 2 different media types
- 1 should be offsite

While this happening is not good. I use Google Apps Mail (GMail for domains) and my farther uses his ISP Mail which is basically a Gmail backend. At least Google said they are working to restore the mail that somehow vanished.

neufuse said,
you get what you pay for

Unless you're using your own host/server, you're getting ripped ripped off for paying anything to get e-mail.

Brian Miller said,
Why didn't Google just resort from their backup servers?
Any loss of saved eMail message is unacceptable.

Article too long for you?

"the company is reportedly working to restore all emails, as well."

With regards to both the Hotmail and Gmail issues: webmail accounts make NO promise to back up your life's communications. Data loss is a fact of life, like dead car batteries, flat tires, and power outages, and the onus is on the end user to ensure that critical information is accessible by second and third fallbacks.

That said, Google's strangehold on chat message transcripts makes it nearly impossible to back up large volumes of information automatically, and for data loss via that pathway, they should be held accountable to a minor degree.

eviltwigflipper said,
I doubt they have been "deleted", sounds more like a coding error that went Live.

They could have been, but they have backups. Eitherway, welcome to the cloud!

0.29% is a significant number of people when you have hundreds of millions of users. Wouldn't this mean that 500,000 to 1,000,000 people may be affected by this?

rfirth said,
0.29% is a significant number of people when you have hundreds of millions of users. Wouldn't this mean that 500,000 to 1,000,000 people may be affected by this?

Revised estimate as of 7:02PM: 0.08%.

First thing that came to my mind when I read this was the amount of comments of people against Hotmail when it suffered from a similar issue.

An ABUNDANCE? Users are FLOODING Google's support forum? WOW

oh ...
From Google's Status page: "We're experiencing an issue affecting less than 0.003% of the Google Mail user base"
Plus it looks like this issue has been resolved.

PotatoJ said,
An ABUNDANCE? Users are FLOODING Google's support forum? WOW

oh ...
From Google's Status page: "We're experiencing an issue affecting less than 0.003% of the Google Mail user base"
Plus it looks like this issue has been resolved.

No, you're talking about a different issue that occurred on 2/23. This is different. Go look at the Google Status page again:
http://www.google.com/appsstatus#rm=1&di=1&hl=en

At 3:20PM:
"This issue affects less than .29% of the Google Mail userbase."

At 7:02PM:
"This issue affects less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase. This is a revised estimate."

rfirth said,

No, you're talking about a different issue that occurred on 2/23. This is different. Go look at the Google Status page again:
http://www.google.com/appsstatus#rm=1&di=1&hl=en

At 3:20PM:
"This issue affects less than .29% of the Google Mail userbase."

At 7:02PM:
"This issue affects less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase. This is a revised estimate."

At 0.08%, using numbers attained by Techcrunch in July of 2009 (most recent I could find) this would affect 116800 users

Seeing as that was some time ago, it would be higher now, and that is quite a number of affected people

rfirth said,

No, you're talking about a different issue that occurred on 2/23. This is different. Go look at the Google Status page again:
http://www.google.com/appsstatus#rm=1&di=1&hl=en

At 3:20PM:
"This issue affects less than .29% of the Google Mail userbase."

At 7:02PM:
"This issue affects less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase. This is a revised estimate."

Ah thank you. I couldn't find it. That is a lot of people. Is it resolved now?

Sraf said,
Seeing as that was some time ago, it would be higher now, and that is quite a number of affected people

The number went DOWN from 3:20PM to 7:02PM, so how are you making the assumption that it would now be affecting more people?

roadwarrior said,

The number went DOWN from 3:20PM to 7:02PM, so how are you making the assumption that it would now be affecting more people?

Indeed, but the number of users probably went up from July 2009, which is when my number of Gmail users is taken from (as I noted in my earlier post)

roadwarrior said,

The number went DOWN from 3:20PM to 7:02PM, so how are you making the assumption that it would now be affecting more people?

Multiply the total number of users by the revised lower pecentage, you get the total number of users affected. But if your estimate of the total number of users is from July 2009, it is fair to say that you're underestimating the number of affected users because the total number of users has gone up since July 2009.

The fact that the estimated percentage of affected users has gone down (to 0.08%) doesn't matter, because he (Sraf), never used the higher figure (0.29%) in his estimate.

Sraf said,

Indeed, but the number of users probably went up from July 2009, which is when my number of Gmail users is taken from (as I noted in my earlier post)

Oh, OK, I misread what you posted there. I thought you were talking about the percentage being higher now, not the actual total number of Gmail users. Oops.

roadwarrior said,

Oh, OK, I misread what you posted there. I thought you were talking about the percentage being higher now, not the actual total number of Gmail users. Oops.

No worries

roadwarrior said,

The number went DOWN from 3:20PM to 7:02PM, so how are you making the assumption that it would now be affecting more people?

how about the inactive/barely used accounts so many people have? and probably loads of users who noticed their inbox is gone that they just abandon gmail alltogether?
plus all the people who dont care
big chance its more people that are affected then they confirm.

Shadowzz, don't you think Google's method of checking would cover those too? Else how do you think they're getting their estimates?

Kirkburn said,
Shadowzz, don't you think Google's method of checking would cover those too? Else how do you think they're getting their estimates?

Those estimates could've been made on the reports people make?
How are they gonna scan their massive databases for changes between few hours ago and now?
Maybe they scanned empty inboxes? who knows, google didnt tell.

Shadowzz said,
Those estimates could've been made on the reports people make?
How are they gonna scan their massive databases for changes between few hours ago and now?
Maybe they scanned empty inboxes? who knows, google didnt tell.
Step back for a second: you think Google are more likely to estimate the scope of issues from the user reports they get (a *massively* unreliable metric), rather than their own systems (which they have god knows how many tracking systems built in for). I'm not surprised they didn't give full details (yet), it would be very complex.

No problems here. Though if something did happen to mine, I really wouldn't lose out on much anyway. About all I get are careerbuilder.com and okcupid.com alerts. Thats really all I use gmail for.

Gaffney said,
Hey Bill how did you get on today, oh fine ted except I accidentally deleted billions of e-mails, woops.

Ted: ***t man atleast u dint steal hundreds of users info *shaking head*

hackson said,

Ted: ***t man atleast u dint steal hundreds of users info *shaking head*

Bill: Ohh *blush* you flatter me. I actually stole millions of users's info.

This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

Because computers never crash . . . I see what you're saying though. You would be better off using POP3 and leaving them on the server. If one goes down, you have the other.

Plus they are working to restore them. Not sure if that'll happen or not, but I would bet that most people don't have a regular backup plan or system, unless it's a business and then they are probably only doing their servers.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

Or better yet, use POP3 as an occasional backup and keep the emails on the server so you can easily access them from multiple devices.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

+1 but keep the emails on the server as a backup.

I have Thunderbird set up to access Gmail via POP3, with Gmail archiving the copy of the e-mail when it is recieved in Thunderbird. That way I always have at least one copy of all of my mail. And if I ever did have a hard drive crash, I regularly back up my local copy of my e-mails, so I really wouldn't lose all that much.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

Or IMAP and have a local copy as well as the server copy...

All my emails and stuff are fine.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

this is why i let Live mail/hotmail get the emails from gmail. as i tend to mess with my computer quite often i break my OS every couple of months (and mess up my HDD's) so i dont have a risk of losing all mail i have since ~2004ish
plus the live mail is allot easier/better to use then gmail
and less ads (only other microsoft services/products ads )

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

Meh....I've been using gmail since early beta (roughly 7years) and have never lost my emails or had any major issues.

I stopped using a regular POP3 client and ISP supplied email about 5years ago....And have never had any reason to change back.

I can access my gmail wherever I go either by a physical connection ie lappy or desktop or via my Android powered SGS.

gmail > hotmail, POP/IMAP

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

This is also why Google should stop B/S about how secure their cloud is. This is not the first time it happened.

Shadowzz said,

this is why i let Live mail/hotmail get the emails from gmail. as i tend to mess with my computer quite often i break my OS every couple of months (and mess up my HDD's) so i dont have a risk of losing all mail i have since ~2004ish
plus the live mail is allot easier/better to use then gmail
and less ads (only other microsoft services/products ads )

I use gmail as my primary email for everything, but every 2-3 months i do a backup of the new mails using Gmail Backup application on my local computer.

being careful in these things, i never lost a single mail in my life, i've got emails going back to 1998

I wouldn't trust Google with my emails. My Gmail address redirects to my Hotmail inbox. You could easily do the same -- try it and judge for yourself.

Despite what fanboys and apologists say, Gmail is an inferior webmail platform. Like Yahoo Mail, it has users but these are largely legacy users from the glory days. The web has moved on from second-generation search, but dinosaurs like Yahoo and Google have not. Gmail never beat Yahoo Mail, the latter still has many more users.

Some people reading this genuinely believe that Google is still cool and innovative. They are living in the past.

Google employees love to criticise their rivals (this is unprofessional and often underhanded behaviour), especially Microsoft -- and yet they can't provide the same level of service.

.bin said,
This is why people should be using a POP3 client that keeps the emails (outlook etc) and deletes them from the server. Lucky my Gmail is just a redirection service.

Surely you can't be serious? If anything that puts you MORE at risk since your PC is much more likely to die or get stolen. Like Nicholas-C said, you're better off using IMAP and having a copy on both.

Even so, it is extremely unlikely that any data has been lost, and the backups done of GMail will certainly be sufficient to restore most or all user's data.

Tim Acheson said,
<Snipped for size>

I couldn't disagree with you more. Email tagging in GMail has become a way of life for me, and even at work, I try to emulate tagging in Microsoft Outlook as closely as I can (although it's not the same).

GMail brough an enormous amount of innovation to Webmail with massive (and free) storage, tagging, and more recently things like POP3 downloads for email accounts without the ability to forward email are invaluable to people like me, who once had several email accounts but would now like to have them all in one place.

Tim Acheson said,
I wouldn't trust Google with my emails. My Gmail address redirects to my Hotmail inbox. You could easily do the same -- try it and judge for yourself.

Despite what fanboys and apologists say, Gmail is an inferior webmail platform. Like Yahoo Mail, it has users but these are largely legacy users from the glory days. The web has moved on from second-generation search, but dinosaurs like Yahoo and Google have not. Gmail never beat Yahoo Mail, the latter still has many more users.

Some people reading this genuinely believe that Google is still cool and innovative. They are living in the past.

Google employees love to criticise their rivals (this is unprofessional and often underhanded behaviour), especially Microsoft -- and yet they can't provide the same level of service.


you do realize Google still scans the content of the emails that are send to your gmail address? might it be forwarded or not
ramik said,

I use gmail as my primary email for everything, but every 2-3 months i do a backup of the new mails using Gmail Backup application on my local computer.

being careful in these things, i never lost a single mail in my life, i've got emails going back to 1998

damn 1998 +1 internets to you
i was using Hotmail only back then switched and ditched it when i got an invite for Gmail then again, i havent actively used email before anyways, just to register and stuff