Google has confessed that an in-house storage software update caused some Gmail users to panic during the weekend as it appeared that their email accounts had disappeared.
Tens of thousands of Gmail users discovered their accounts had seemingly been completely deleted on Sunday and panicked as they lost all their emails, contact details and calendar information stored on Google's cloud service.
Thankfully Google is in the process of restoring all the accounts, according to a blog post. It confirmed that just 0.02 percent of Gmail users were affected and apologised.
"The good news is that email was never lost and we've restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we're making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon," it said.
Google admitted the problem was caused by it releasing a storage software update that introduced an ‘unexpected bug'.
"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," it said.
It stressed that Google backs up Gmail users' information to tapes, which are offline so they are protected from software bugs, but that restoring the data takes longer than transferring requests to another data center, "which is why it's taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds."
It sounds as if Google was almost panicking as much as the Gmail users who lost access to their accounts as the blog said: "When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version."
While the problem seems to be solved with little damage, it will remain to be seen whether people become more wary of using cloud services.