In what could prove to be a horror for some users, Google incorrectly exported some users’ videos to strangers’ archives due to an issue in November. Google has started to alert Takeout users about ‘technical issue’ that plagued its systems from November 21-25, 2019. The company says that during this period, those who requested backups could have their videos in Google Photos ‘incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.’
‘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. 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,’ Google said in a statement.
If you are one of those who requested a backup through Google Takeout — a project that allows you to download your data from Google apps as a backup — it is possible that some of your videos (not pictures) might be visible to random users who also downloaded their data through Google Takeout. People usually capture images and videos from their phones, and some of them, like a recording of a practice session of a secret play or a meeting, are not shot for sharing purposes. This issue could be a problem for those who may have captured such classified information.
Apart from this, Google also highlights a possibility that the Google Photos archive that users downloaded during that five-day period could be incomplete. It is likely that users might be missing some of their videos, while strangers’ media might be present. The company has asked users to delete the previous export, and request another one. As per the company, less than 0.01 per cent of users who requested export were affected. It also says that the underlying issue has been ‘identified and resolved’.