There was a report in Reuters yesterday afternoon about an increasing number of Gmail users complaining that the "service is resending messages to their recipients, turning these users into accidental spammers who are unintentionally annoying friends, acquaintances and business contacts."
Reuters says that this has been going for several days. Looking through the different threads at the Gmail help forum seems to show that the problem has been going on at least since Monday, and maybe as early as last Friday.
However, a Google employee named Mr Evan said in the Gmail help forum yesterday that:
"We've found the root cause of the issue and should have this fixed very soon."
"The messages of yours that were re-sent automatically over the past few days may be re-sent once today if they have not been already, but should not be re-sent again after the one time today. If this just affected you in the last hour or so, your message(s) should not go out again. Any new messages you send now will not be affected."
Sincere apologies for the inconvenience - this was an isolated issue, but obviously has caused some uncomfortable situations. I wish this could have been avoided, but I wanted you to know that the engineers have sorted out the problem."
Reuters said it tried to contact Google yesterday for a comment concerning the glitch, but didn't get a response. It is unknown how many Gmail users were affected; there are an estimated 200 million Gmail users.
Google announced yesterday that Gmail users will now be able to make phone calls over the Internet to landlines or cell phones. As a New York Times article noted, this places Google in direct competition with Skype.
The Times article goes on to say:
"After Gmail users install a voice and video chat plug-in to their browsers, they can make a call using their computer’s microphone and speakers or a headset. Calls to numbers in the United States and Canada will be free at least through the end of the year. International calls range from 2 cents a minute to many countries to 98 cents a minute to call Cuba."
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.