Google Voice Makes Messages Searchable, Public

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Due to a bit of a slip up in the manner in which voice messages are shared using its popular Google Voice service, Google made a number of its users voice messages searchable to the general public last night.

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In news that’s just strange enough to make us pleased that Google Voice isn’t offered to those of us in Europe, Google basically made it so that just anyone could have a poke through voice mails it had indexed. Of course, it later turned out that only users who had linked to their voice mails from another site were having their voice messages presented to search users.

While it’s clear that there’s a hefty amount of user error at play, Google has clearly come under enough fire that it’s moved to rectify the issue early, rather than have it come up again when Google Voice has gained enough users for it to be a scandal. According to BoyGeniusReport, Google’s response was as on the fence as you might expect, given the circumstances, with the search giant saying,

“Since the initial idea behind posting a voicemail, was precisely to share it with others, we did not restrict crawling of those messages that users post on the web, but we can certainly understand that users would want to make them public on their sites and not necessarily searchable directly outside of their own website. We made a change to prevent those being crawled so only the site owner can decide to index them.”

Clearly this is as much a case of user error as anything funny happening on Google’s side, but there comes a point where you have to wonder if it’s Google responsibility to advise users of exactly what they should and shouldn’t do with their own voice messages…

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