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Google News App Reportedly Using Excessive Background Data Without User's Knowledge

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Google News App Reportedly Using Excessive Background Data Without User's Knowledge

Google News app has been downloading GBs of mobile data in the background

  • Google News app bug said to be using a massive amount of data
  • Users who had set to 'download via Wi-Fi only' were also affected
  • A Google community manager acknowledged the problem in September

Google News seems to have been affected by a bug that is causing the app to use massive amounts of data without the knowledge of its users. Some of the users have complained that the app has been mysteriously downloading gigabytes of mobile data in the background. A few users have also claimed that the app has been facing the issue since May this year. Meanwhile, Google had acknowledged the issue back in September after people had reported data usage to the tune of up to 24GB, resulting in massive charges that amounted to up to a few hundred dollars. So far though, no fix has been rolled out.

As spotted by The Verge, some Android users have reported about the bug in the app via the Google News Help Forum. As mentioned, some users have claimed to be facing this issue as long back as May, the same month when the app was launched. As per the latest user complaints, the issue still appears to persist.

A Google News app user cited by The Verge, said, "The Google News app is randomly using a ridiculous amount of background data without users' knowledge. The app burned through over 12 gigs of data on my phone while I slept and my Wi-Fi had disconnected. It led to $75 in overage charges." On the Help Forum, a user wrote, "Both my husband and I had this issue on our Pixel 2s, but to the tune of 24GB EACH overnight! I was on Fi, luckily, so my bill capped at $60 (I enjoyed slow data for a week, though, and Google said they could do nothing about that??) My husband's bill just came in at $385 from Verizon." Interestingly, some users also said they had the Google News app set to "download via Wi-Fi only," but were still affected by the bug.

Notably, the first post on the forum thread was done on September 1, but users have claimed that they made Google aware of the issue much earlier this year. Also, the latest user report was made on October 17. Apart from the Help Forum, users have also reported the issue via Reddit, Verizon community forum, and Twitter.

Last month, a Google News Community Manager Lisa Wang had acknowledged the bug and stated that the company is investigating it and working on a fix. Wang said, "Hi all. Thanks so much for reporting this issue to us-we understand the importance of getting it resolved as soon as possible. The relevant teams are currently investigating and working towards a fix, and we'll be posting updates directly to this thread. We may also reach out if there is additional troubleshooting info that would be helpful in our investigation. Many thanks for your patience in the meantime."

To recall, at Google's annual I/O developers conference this year, the tech giant had refreshed Google News with new features. The company had explained that the new unified Google News uses a set of AI techniques to take a constant flow of information as it comes on the Internet and then analyse it in real time to organise it into storylines.


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