Update [27/09/2013]: Google assures that the problem with his instant messaging services, Hangouts and Gtalk, has already been solved and both platforms are starting to work normally. The company, as reported on Apps Status dashboar, has identified the problem and is implementing a solution. “We are sorry for people affected and we will provide an update when the service is restored completely.” This bug affected all Gtalk messages sent between 22:00 and 01:30 CET. “Any messages sent after this time have not been affected,” says Google.
Privacy problems are afoot in Google’s instant messaging service: a technical failure has caused Hangouts and Gtalk to send private chat conversations to the wrong recipients. This bug, which is occurring on a global level, has already affected many users, and although Google is investigating the cause of the problem, there’s still no answer. So be careful about what you’re saying on Hangouts and Gtalk.
This massive bug has knocked out communication via Google. Many users are airing their complaints through Twitter and in the company’s support forum about private conversations that have wound up in the wrong recipient’s chat window without the sender having any idea whatsoever. A situation that could end up being a funny story—or, worse, create some very uncomfortable moments.
The widespread frustration has sent Google scrambling to find a solution as quickly as possible to correct the bug. You can check their progress on the Apps Status Dashboard to find out when the problem will go away. According to today’s update from 13:15 CET, the “team is still investigating the issue” and would offer more information in 75 minutes. “The issue has been resolved and all services are gradually returning to normal. We will update when full service has been restored.”
For security, it’s best to avoid using either Hangouts or Gtalk until the Google service advises that everything has been totally resolved, or, at most, only have conversations that you don’t care about any or everybody else in the world reading. This week the company has updated several of its services, including Hangouts for Android, meaning that it’s possible the new software provoked this problem with instant messages.