Google accidentally sent users' private videos to random strangers

Google Photos
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google has confirmed that some people using its Takeout service to download a copy of their data last year had content from their Google Photos account shared with complete strangers by accident.

As 9to5Google reports, the 'technical issue' happened from November 21to 25 2019, but Google is only now alerting potentially affected users by email. 

The problem involved videos (not still pictures), which were accidentally exported to other users' archives if they happened to be backing up their content at the same time as you.

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Affected users have received quite vague emails, simply informing them that "one or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue" without specifying which ones, or how many people were given access.

Google also advises that backups downloaded during this timeframe might be incomplete, so it's worth checking and re-saving them to ensure your archives aren't missing any snaps.

Better late than never?

Google says it's carried out an in-depth analysis to root out the cause of the problem and ensure it doesn't happen again.

Only a tiny fraction of Google Photos users were affected by the bug (approximately 0.01% according to Google's own estimates) and the company resolved the problem after a few days, but it's alarming that it's taken over two months for people whose videos were shared to be alerted.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)