Gmail Resets 150,000+ Email Accounts, Loses Everything

Mike Halsey MVP
Feb 28, 2011
Updated • Mar 19, 2015
Gmail, Google

If you can't log into your Gmail account this morning it could be because engineers at Google are trying to recover all your emails that they accidentally deleted last night.

Some estimates say that as many as half a million Gmail users have had their inboxes wiped as a software bug has reset some accounts.  Google is saying this is only affecting 0.08% of their users, but we're still looking at a lot of very disappointed people.

This problem follows another by Microsoft where hundreds of thousands of Hotmail customers, including myself, had email wiped.  On that occasion the engineers were too slow to react and their automated systems purged deleted email from their buffers after 5 days, making it irretrievable.  It made me ask why that auto-deletion system wasn't switched off!

On a statement this morning Google have said "Google engineers are working to restore full access. Affected users may be temporarily unable to sign in while we repair their accounts."

Some users have reportedly now had their inboxes fixed but this problem looks set to rumble on for many.

These incidents raise questions for people about the stability and security of cloud services and how much we really can trust these companies with our prized data.  It's been a very long time since any incidents on this scale and for other people who use services such as Picassa, Office Live or Flickr then it could be a serious concern.

This is now the second bug to string Gmail in the last week as a few days ago some Google Calendar users saw that their calendars had been wiped.  The service was down for six hours before engineers were able to restore it.

We can only hope that Google do better than Microsoft and actually do recover the deleted emails.  I never got mine back!


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  1. Martin said on February 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    And that’s one of the reasons why I love ma Thunderbird ;)

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