A group of Gmail users were on the wrong side of a misguided software update from Google, causing their accounts to reset.
While only approximately 0.02 percent of users were affected, that adds up given the total number of people with Gmail accounts -- estimated at more than 200 million. That translates to 160,000 people.
Google said some users had their entire accounts temporarily wiped out due to a software bug. The storage software introduced the bug and caused some Google mail users to think their accounts had been reset. Once it realized what happened, the company immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.
In some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That's what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we've been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue, said Ben Treynor, Google's vice president of engineering in a blog post.
Originally, Google thought 0.08 percent of users were impacted by the mishap. However, it later learned it was only 0.02 percent. By the end of the day Monday, Google said email would be restored for all users. Treynor said it takes longer to restore email since they are backed up offline.
To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they're protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it's taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds, Treynor said.
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