Be careful out there

Autocomplete fail: Gmail is suggesting the wrong email addresses

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Better check twice before firing off that email today: You could be sending it to the wrong person, thanks to a Gmail bug that is suggesting email addresses you rarely communicate with, instead of the people you correspond with most often.

The bug has been widely spotted by media outlets, venture capitalists, and normal Gmail users. Instead of sending your email to your coworkers or family, pressing send without double-checking could result in your email being delivered to someone you haven’t talked to in years. Although I am lucky enough not to have misfired one of my messages today, others haven’t been so fortunate:

The problem seems to be widespread — just this morning, Gigaom’s tips email address ([email protected], send us stories) was inexplicably CC’d on a email thread on which editors of another site were discussing the most embarrassing moments from last night’s Oscars.

Google has provided the following statement:

“We’re aware of an issue with Gmail and auto-complete and currently investigating. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

Until it gets fixed, you might want to consider turning on the undo send feature in Gmail labs.

6 Responses to “Autocomplete fail: Gmail is suggesting the wrong email addresses”

  1. jatheonmarketing

    This is way too funny. Though, it can’t happen if you double check before sending. I know it’s time consuming (a few seconds), but it’s better to waste 2 seconds and not make a mistake. Didn’t notice this though because i always check everything before sending.

    • It’s a fair point. However, many companies, including mine actually send Google money to support email services so we do get to complain and feel very smug about it too!

    • I am personally paying for gmail with my data and browsing habits, which I don’t mind them doing at all; I signed up for that. What I did not sign up for, and something that is not covered in their TOS, was mangled emails.

  2. Some folks at google probably noticed that auto-complete was driving us into ruts of robotic repetition and no further knowledge was being created. If someone else searched for something, that must be what I want to search for too. There, got that answer for you in the cache. Then, maybe someone figured the same thing was happening with our personal communication, and that we should be encouraged to diversify our circles of communication, or we would soon find ourselves trapped in repetitive exchanges with only a handful of auto completions.