Google admits it sent private videos in Google Photos to Strangers

Google Photos is a fantastic tool to backup photos and videos directly from our phones / computers so that we don’t loose them and also it comes handy while sharing it. But looks like things are not that simple and secure. Google today started alerting some users about a “technical issue” that may have affected some users.


— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020


What was the issue ?

Google says that the “technical issue” affected the ‘Takeout’ service for Google photos between November 21 and November 25 last year. According to Google, Google photos content of users who requested to perform an export may have incorrectly sent their videos to some other random users.

People who exported Google Photos data during the affected period may find that it is incomplete and contains videos that belong to someone else. Google says the underlying issue was identified and resolved on November 25, 2019, and that no other service was affected by it.

How many people are affected ?

Google fixed the issue after five days and 9to5 Google Reports that less than 0.01 percent of Google Photos users who used Takeout were affected. 0.01 percent might sound a low value to you but Google Photos has over 1 billion users , so even a small percentage will impact a significant number of people. Google has apologized for any inconvenience that may have caused.

“We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25,” explains a Google spokesperson in a statement to 9to5Google. “These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos — not photos — that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened.”