A major problem with cloud computing reveals it’s ugly head

Recently Google screwed up. The search giant found a bug that shared unshared documents in Google’s famed Google Docs with others. According to their figures only affected 0.05% of users, the the implications are huge for the idea of putting everything in the cloud.

Dear Google Docs user,

We wanted to let you know about a recent issue with your Google Docs account. We’ve identified and fixed a bug which may have caused you to share some of your documents without your knowledge. This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document. The issue only occurred if you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents and presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions. This issue affected documents and presentations, but not spreadsheets.

To help remedy this issue, we have used an automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents that we identified as being affected. Since the impacted documents are now accessible only to you, you will need to re-share the documents manually. For your reference, we’ve listed below the documents identified as being affected.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this issue may have caused. We want to assure you that we are treating this issue with the highest priority.

The Google Docs Team

Granted there is an inherent risk to putting your documents online, but a snafu like this could have cost companies using the Google “operating system” tons of money.

The draw to using the Cloud for computing is simple. You can access your documents and files from anywhere in a “secure maner.” Now Google says it’s fixed the problem, but should we trust that it won’t happen again? I’m not so sure.

What are your thoughts. Post them in the comments.

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