Google Photos Bug Shared Video Archives With Strangers

The issue precisely took place between November 21-25 last year for the users who requested a data export through the Google Takeout service.

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Google Photos Bug Shared Video Archives With Strangers

Google is recommending affected users to delete their prior export

  • Google Photos bug affected only video content, not any photos
  • It took place for users who exported their content using Google Takeout
  • Google Photos users received an email specifying the issue

Google Photos exported some video files to the archives of strangers due to a “technical issue”, the search giant has revealed in an email sent to affected users. The issue took place in November last year. However, Google eventually took over two months to report its existence to the users. The company also mentioned in its email that the the Google Photos archive that was downloaded during the affected period might be incomplete and didn't include all the user content meant for export. The issue essentially impacted the Google ‘Download your data' service that is called Google Takeout.

The issue precisely took place between November 21-25 last year for the users who requested a data export through the Google Takeout service, Google revealed in the email.

“Unfortunately, during this time, some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated user's archives. One or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue,” reads the email, which has been shared by a Redditor.

Google additionally noted that one or more videos might be affected by the issue. However, It didn't provide any clarity on which videos are exactly being impacted. The company also intimated users that the data downloaded during the five-day period might be incomplete or might include videos of strangers.

“The underlying issue has been identified and resolved,” Google stated, adding that the affected users are recommended to perform another export of their content and delete their prior export.


In a prepared statement to Gadgets 360, a Google spokesperson said that they fixed the underlying issue and “conducted an in-depth analysis” to help prevent its future instances.

“We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25. These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos—not photos—that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened,” the spokesperson said.

The issue notably impacted only the users who requested for downloading the data through the Google Takeout service. This suggests if you didn't perform the export using the service, your videos weren't shared with strangers.


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Further reading: Google Photos, Google Takeout, Google
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