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Google hosts a cloud storage service called GoogleDocs that allows for file access and collaboration on these documents. However, recently there have been some reports of users not being able to access their files.

The Issue

Users of GoogleDocs reported that some of their files had either disappeared or were locked from use. One user, Iain Mackenzie, had one of these files open and reported that the screen flashed the text “game is over” - although google have assured him that only he was editing the file at the time.

Google confirmed this was caused by an update in code that was pushed out. The code was incorrectly marking files as abusive, which then changed the file permissions so the user could not access or see it.

The Resolution

Google have released a fix for this, which changes the permissions on the files, so users should now have full access to their files stored in GoogleDocs.

Why did this happen

Google actively scan and search documents saved on their storage service to protect from viruses, malware and abusive content. They have tools in place that can scan for items that match a criteria and then act on it.

In this case, the code they released was too sensitive and was marking files incorrectly, luckily it only changed the permissions and did not remove the file - so restoring the permissions was quickly resolved.

Further reading

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