Google Mistakenly Sends Dozens of Unwanted SMS Messages To Users

Feb 3, 2009 - 7:53 am 0 by
Filed Under Misc Google

Over night, for about four hours, Google's SMS search feature sent dozens of SMS messages to Google SMS users over and over again. There are dozens of threads complaining about the issue, but the two largest threads have hundreds of posts each and can be found both at the Google Mobile Help Forum.

First, Google denied the issue, blaming it on their mobile phone provider. Googler, Zeke, said:

Could you please try calling your carrier (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, etc.) and asking them to reset your SMS message settings? If that doesn't do the trick, please respond back here and let me know what carrier you're using.

Then Zeke said a bit later:

Thanks for responding so quickly. We are looking into the issue, and as soon as I have an update, I'll post it here. If you don't have an unlimited SMS plan, and you're worried about SMS charges, please let your carrier know about the situation.

Then a couple hours later, we hear from Googler Ash, who said they are working on fixing the issue and they should try to block Google from sending these text messages:

I just wanted to let you know that this issue is being worked on, and we will post again when we know that it is resolved for certain. In the meantime, as some users mentioned, you can contact your mobile provider and have our shortcode 466453 or 46645 blocked from sending you text messages.

Then at about 12:40pm (EST) this morning, Ash said they seemed to have fixed the issue. Reports came in from users that indeed, the issue was resolved at about that time. What was the issue? Googler Ash said:

After investigating this issue, the cause seems to be related to an error with the mobile aggregator used by many mobile providers. We've received confirmation that a fix is going out soon.

Please let us know in the forum if you're still having problems with multiple SMS messages. We appreciate your assistance and patience while we looked into this issue.

If you received dozens of text or SMS message and you do not have unlimited messages, you should call your mobile provider and let them know what happened. I doubt Google will be paying for all the unwanted text messages, but maybe your mobile provider will be understanding.

This issue sent about 30 text messages to hundreds, if not, thousands of users. It lasted for about 4 hours, starting at about 8:30pm (EST) last night and going through about 12:40 midnight (EST).

Google has been having major issues with their SMS search feature in January. For more on those issues, see this article.

Forum discussion at Google Mobile Help Forum.


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