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Gmail autocomplete bug could have disastrous consequences

Part of the beauty of Gmail’s autocomplete function is its ability to quickly recognise your most-used contacts as you begin typing in the ‘to’ field. However, right now it isn’t working particularly well.

Several reports on Monday are pointing to a Gmail bug that is giving users odd, rarely-used suggestions from the senders’ address book.

The result, for those used to the feature working seamlessly as they fire off rapid correspondences, could be emails sent to unintended recipients. Such a faux-pas could be harmless or life-changingly awful depending on your luck.

Google has acknowledged the bug in a statement: “We’re aware of an issue with Gmail and auto-complete and currently investigating. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

We’ve noticed the strange order or addresses over the course of Monday, with regular contacts addressed appearing below ones last used years ago. In one instance it resulted in us sending an email to a colleague’s previous place of work.

Twitter is littered with comments from those who’ve fallen to a similar, and often worse, fate.

“The incipient malevolent human-murdering AI inside GMail just autocompleted an address I’ve emailed once over one I’ve emailed 10,000 times,” wrote Marc Andreessen, the inventor of Mosaic, the world’s first web browser.

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In the meantime, we’d advise all Gmail used to double check their correspondences before hitting the send button.

Reporting on the news, Gigaom also suggests users switch off the Undo Send feature in Google Labs. It could help you avert the most egregious email fail.

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