Facepalm: Google is informing users of Google Photos that their private videos might have been sent to strangers. The problem was caused by a “technical issue” in the company’s Takeout service, which allows people to download data from Google apps as backups.
According to Google’s alert, anyone who used the Takeout tool to download one or more videos from Google Photos between November 21 and 25 may find they were incorrectly sent to other users.
“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement to 9to5Google.
Whoa, what? @googlephotos? pic.twitter.com/2cZsABz1xb
— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020
Google recommends users delete any export performed during that 5-day period and perform another export of their content.
The tech giant fixed the issue in under a week, adding that just 0.01 percent of Google Photo users who used Takeout during this time were affected. But with Google Photos boasting over 1 billion users, the number of people impacted could be quite high. The company added that none of its other apps were affected.
The revelation that Google Photos shared users’ videos with strangers is going to look bad for the company. The service is currently trialing a new subscription service that automatically picks your best ten photos from the last 30 days and sends them out as prints, so any privacy concerns related to Google Photos could worry potential customers.