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article imageThousands of Gmail users find emails missing

By Jane Fazackarley     Feb 28, 2011 in Internet
A Google Mail bug has led to thousands of users losing their emails, folders, apps, contact details and other information after their accounts were reset. Different reports says that 120,000 to 150,000 users were affected.
According to a message on the Google Apps Dashboard, dated February 27, less than .29 percent of their users were affected by the outage, this figure was later revised to 0.08%. This morning, the Gmail backup site wasn't loading when I checked.
Another update said that "for those Gmail users reporting missing messages, our engineers are working to restore them as soon as possible" and that they were "continuing to investigate this issue."
The Google support forum had more than 300 posts regarding the problem. One user said:
"Not getting any errors just the whole account is empty as if it was opened just now!!"
In another post a user said:
"I am always logged on to my gmail account, use it as my main email account for everything. This morning I get onto my system and check my email, and it is all gone except for 4 new emails that came in during the night."
Some users say that they were unable to use their Gmail account for three hours. A similar incident happened in 2009 when users weren't able to access their accounts.
Engineers are said to be working to restore access and say that some accounts will be disabled while they work to fix them.
In a statement sent to me from Google they say:
"Since yesterday afternoon a very small number users have been having difficulty accessing their Gmail accounts, and in some cases, once they’re in, trouble viewing emails. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience to our users."
"We now have a better understanding of the impact of this issue, and we have lowered our estimate of the number of affected Gmail users from 0.08% to 0.02%. We have restored access for a third of those affected. The remaining 0.013% of accounts are being restored on an ongoing basis, and we expect the issue to be resolved for everyone by the end of today (Monday)."
A update forwarded to me by Google this morning, which has been published on their blog, says that:
"The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we're making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon."
In the blog post, Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar for Google, explains that it was the introduction of a storage software update that led to the bug which caused some Gmail users to "temporarily lose access to their email".
The latest updates can be found here.
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