Google informed some users of its Google Photos service that the search giant had sent their private videos to strangers. Google’s Takeout service, which enables people to download their results, was affected by a “technical issue” from November 21 to November 25 last year. It resulted in a small number of users receiving privately owned videos that were not theirs.

Google’s nonchalant email alerting users does not provide information about how many people have been affected, nor the number of exclusive videos that have been wrongly distributed per account. After five days, Google fixed the issue and 9to5Google estimates that less than 0.01 per cent of users of Google Photos who used Takeout were affected. Google Photos has over 1 billion users, so even a small percentage of people can make a significant impact. Google has apologized for “whatever disruption this might have caused.”

“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,” said a Google representative in a statement to 9to5Google.

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“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.”

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