Google finally fixes strange Gmail bug

Five days after it was first reported in the media, Google gets around to fixing an unusual Google Search link problem that sent a torrent of e-mail to several unsuspecting people.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
The link in Google Search results for Gmail that's causing one man to get thousands of unwanted e-mails. SearchEngine Land

Google has repaired a bug that automatically filled in an e-mail address in Gmail when accessed from the Google Search results page. The bug had been plaguing the unlucky e-mail account owners since at least Monday, when the bug was first reported.

A reader tipped off Search Engine Land that Google had been caught filling in another person's e-mail address in a new Gmail message whenever anybody signed into a Google account and clicked on the top Gmail sub-link in Google Search results for "Gmail."

On Friday, it was discovered that the bug filled in a Hotmail address. The owner of the Hotmail account, David S. Peck, told TechCrunch that he has been receiving thousands of unsolicited e-mails.

A Google spokesperson blamed the "technical glitch" on e-mail addresses that were already revealed on public Web pages appearing "too prominently" in Search results. "We've fixed the issue and are sorry for any inconvenience caused," the spokesperson said. It appears that Google has hidden the link entirely, as it no longer appears in search results.

Google confirmed that the bug, which originated Monday, was unrelated to Friday's Gmail and Google services outage.

Update at 3:11 p.m. PT to change the headline and story to note that Google has fixed the bug.