Google spams users of Google+

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Many early adopters of the Google+ social network found themselves bombarded with spam over the weekend, because of a bug triggered after the site ran out of disk space.

Although the service is still only in beta and has a limited number of users, they were for a short time too much to handle. Users found themselves receiving repeated notifications from the the company informing them of status changes and the like.

"Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon. For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes," said senior VP for social Vic Gundotra on his G+ wall.

"We didn't expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have."

It's particularly unfortunate timing for the company, given that it's working on a version of Google+ for businesses.

"It'll include things like rich analytics and the ability to connect that identity to other parts of Google that businesses might use on a daily basis like AdWords," said product manager, Christian Oestlien, in a video on the Google blog.

The company's asking businesses not to set up a personal profile, but to register interest and be a bit patient. They may be slightly less keen in the light of the spam notifications.

"It's pretty embarrassing for Google+ to suffer from such a bug - you can hardly imagine how the site could conceivably 'run out of disk space', even if it is still technically undergoing trials," says Graham Cluley of security firm Sophos.

"Of course, accidental spam like this is better than being hit by spam containing Viagra adverts, phishing messages and malicious links - but it's still a nuisance and precisely the kind of irritating bug that is likely to upset users."