Google+ Glitch Pummels Users With Spam


The spam glitch occurred as a result of a code error in Google+, which led the social networking site to run out of disk space after it experienced an unexpectedly high number of users following its launch.

The hiccup caused users to be repetitively pelted with spammy notification messages and ads sent out by the site itself, as opposed to Viagra and “work from home” ads typical of most spam campaigns.

Google addressed the problem and issued an apology.

“For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes,” said Vic Gundotra, senior vice-president of social for Google, in his post.

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“We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have. Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.”

Google unveiled the beta version of its new social networking site Google+ June 28, initially extending invitations to Google insiders and the press, but has already forecast expansion in an effort to go toe to toe with Facebook. While it is unclear exactly how many new members have joined the social networking site, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt told TechCrunch that the user base figures in the millions.

Although Google+ is just days old, and Google is likely still working out the kinks, security experts say that the search goliath should have been better equipped to handle a sharp upsurge of users in light of its massive data processing capabilities.

“It's pretty embarrassing for Google+ to suffer from such a bug - you can hardly imagine how the site could conceivably "run out of disk space", even if it is still technically undergoing trials,” said Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos , in a blog post. “Of course, accidental spam like this is better than being hit by spam containing Viagra adverts, phishing messages and malicious links - but it's still a nuisance and precisely the kind of irritating bug that is likely to upset users."