If you think you receive a lot of unwanted email each day, spare a thought for Hotmail user David S. Peck of Fresno, California.
He’s the owner of an email account that received thousands of unwanted messages, as Gmail went down for a few hours last week.
As Sarah Perez from TechCrunch reported, a bizarre glitch in Google’s search results meant that users hunting for Gmail could find themselves sending an email to Peck’s Hotmail address instead.
(I have deliberately obscured and not included Peck’s Hotmail email address in this article – I suspect he doesn’t need his details appearing any more widely on the web).
Clicking on the “Email” link in the Google search results for “Gmail” took Gmail users directly to a compose message form, pre-filled with Peck’s Hotmail address.
In time, Google confirmed that the bizarre bug was not related to the downtime which affected Gmail and Google Plus on Friday, but the timing seems unfortunate. Especially for David S Peck, who says he received thousands of unwanted messages.
Meanwhile, during the Gmail outage, rival Yahoo was hardly covering itself in glory.
Someone in the Yahoo social media time clearly thought it would be a good idea to cheekily tweet an image of the error page that Gmail users were seeing as they attempted to access their email during the outage.
Gmail is temporarily available
It clearly wasn’t an accident, as Yahoo tweeted the same message four times in rapid succession.
Twitter users were far from impressed, viewing Yahoo’s tweet as a cheap shot against its webmail rival.
— laura olin (@lauraolin) January 24, 2014
Only Yahoo could come out of a Gmail outage looking worse than Google.
— Tom Krazit (@tomkrazit) January 24, 2014
And, of course, it didn’t go unmentioned that Yahoo has had its own fair share of snafus with its email system, and that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was previously a high profile executive at Google.
Clearly realising that it had made a social media blunder, Yahoo deleted the offending tweet and posted an apology to its peers at Google.
Earlier today, a tweet that reflected bad judgment was posted and has been deleted. We apologize to @Google and the @Gmail team.
It clearly was a silly thing to do. The internet has a long memory, and next time Yahoo has a problem with its infrastructure it would hope that its competitors would show better grace than it exhibited on this occasion.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.