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Google: .02% of Users Affected By Gmail Bug

This past weekend, a glitch hit a small percentage of Gmail users and resulted in their email accounts being completely wiped clean and reset. Though Google insisted it was working to get back users’ data, it was unclear what happened until yesterday evening when the company finally explained things via the official Gmail blog.

"We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email," writes Google’s Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability.

"When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version."

As Treynor noted, Google is now saying just .02 percent of people are affected by this problem, whereas before, 150,000 (0.08%) were thought to be having trouble with their accounts. The number of affected users is thought to be just under 40,000 at this point.

Explaining why restoring accounts took so long, Treynor admitted that the bug affected multiple copies of its backed up data.

"We've been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue," he added, detailing that they'd had to get the data back from back-up tapes.

"Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds."

Google will be posting a detailed incident report to the Apps Status Dashboard, and will also offer details on the preventative measures it has taken to stop something like this from happening again. We’ll update when the Gmail team gets around to doing that.