Google Talk bug sent IMs to wrong recipients

It's the second major glitch to affect Google Web apps this week

A glitch in Google Talk routed instant messages incorrectly on Thursday morning, exposing private text chats to unintended recipients.

About three hours passed from the moment Google acknowledged the problem on its Apps Status site and the moment it declared it solved.

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But judging from the frantic and horrified messages posted by affected users in discussion forums and social media outlets like Twitter, the bug may have been active for about five hours.

The entries about the problem in the Apps Status site simply state that Google Talk wasn't "functioning correctly."

It's not clear how many people were affected nor how many IMs were delivered incorrectly.

Google is in the process of migrating its various IM and audio/video chat services to a new one called Hangouts, which will replace Google Chat, Google Talk and Google Plus Messenger.

Asked for comment, a Google spokeswoman said that there had been "an issue" that affected "some people using Googles instant messaging services" but she didn't provide specifics on the problem or its scope.

"We have since identified the problem, stopped it from recurring, and are currently applying a fix. We're very sorry to anyone affected," she said via email, while declining to comment further.

On Monday, a Gmail bug that took about 10 hours to fix and hit close to 50 percent of the webmail service's users caused email delivery delays and difficulties downloading attachments.

And, as first reported by IDG News Service on Wednesday, Google has been unsuccessfully battling another Gmail bug related to inline images in messages that locks unsuspecting users out of their accounts.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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