Google+ runs out of disk space, spams users with notifications

Filed Under: Google, Social networks, Spam

Google PlusSome early adopters of Google+ have found themselves bombarded with multiple notification messages in their email, due to a bug in the social networking's code after the site - astonishingly - ran out of disk space.

Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice-President of Social for Google, posted an apology (appropriately enough) on his Google+ account to those users affected, painting the social network as having been a victim of its own success.

Google spam apology

Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon.

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.

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.

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.

High profile sufferers included Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News's technology correspondent, an influential reporter who would hardly be high on your list of people you want to slate the social network.

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.

If you are on Google+, and want to keep informed about the latest security news, consider adding Naked Security to one of your circles.

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15 Responses to Google+ runs out of disk space, spams users with notifications

  1. Kamini · 1552 days ago

    Learn to put links in your useless post, instead of mere quotes and screenshots. Are you feelings so insecure? What kinda security blog is this?

  2. its in a private beta... things happen man :) love having an account... what they are making is amazing :)

    • Tony · 1552 days ago

      Yea, it's like nothing else out there....except for facebook.

  3. beta tester · 1552 days ago

    like @paullashbrook said. you're risking bugs like this when you register up for a service in beta/trial. if you don't want to, then you can just wait till it's done and ready for public release rather than complaining like a little kid.

  4. Dan · 1552 days ago

    When can i find Sophos on google+ ??

    I'm already a follower on facebook

  5. People have become so used to things "just working" that they tend to forget the purpose of a beta. I'm just happy that it more or less functions and hasn't broken anything major-yet.

  6. kevin · 1552 days ago

    I'm on Google+ and I haven't recieved a single message.

  7. Lynn · 1552 days ago

    I look at Google+ as a more adult version of Facebook. No stupid game invites and crap like that. I also like the fact that I can add someone to a circle and I can't just follow them and not have to share things with them.

  8. This is the reason it's still invite only and hasn't gone live. People are there to test it so these bugs can be worked out early. Look at what happened to MySpace when it didn't take the same precautions. Facebook started out with you having to have a college email to join, then eventually opened up to everyone. I can honestly see this site become huge.

  9. Alex · 1551 days ago

    Google+ did not run out of disk space. _One_of_the_systems_ ran out of space.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley