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July 25, 2010

A Strange Gmail Bug

Steven Schofield noticed a strange Gmail bug: attachments use more storage than they should.

For example, one of my Gmail accounts used 1567 MB of storage. I composed a new message, attached a file that had about 8.42 MB and saved it as a draft. Gmail's footer message was: "You are currently using 1590 MB (21%) of your 7479 MB." Gmail used 3 times more storage for my message and MIME encoding couldn't add so much overhead. I discarded the message and Gmail informed me I was using 1579 MB. After composing a message and deleting it, I lost about 12 MB.

I composed another message, attached the same file and sent it to an email address. Gmail used 23 MB to send a file that only had 8.42 MB. After deleting the message, I lost once again 12 MB of storage.

The most likely explanation is that Gmail's Flash uploader creates hidden messages for each file you upload. When Gmail launched the Flash uploader, these temporary messages were sent to the trash. Now they're probably no longer displayed.

Update (a day later): it's fixed. Google now shows the temporary messages from the trash.

14 comments:

  1. This baug has already been fixed by google.

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  2. I'm glad someone is watching google's math errors.

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  3. @Get free articles
    Really? Or is that a reply just to spam the blog with your link?

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  4. Is it possible this is due to base64 encoding? That adds roughly 33% to the size of the (binary) attachment.

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  5. If it were 33% yes, but this is 170%.

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  6. Gmail bug has already been fixed by google but it takes time to show previous information. Mine is working ok.

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  7. I confirm that it is fixed or working correctly. For me it takes 5-10min for it so show the refreshed or actual number.

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  8. For what I know Gmail doesn't use any flash uploader or at least not anymore, but AJAX. In fact, in Chrome and Firefox, flash and SSL don't really work well together (only IE allows you to use SSL and flash)

    That is why since they put SSL connection as default, flash uploader has been removed.

    E

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  9. Even that was an almost-not-so-fatal bug, that's not a big problem for me. My problem still facing with spam and phising message + report phising button. It's buggier.

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  10. Gmail still uses the Flash uploader in all browsers. Try disabling Flash and you'll notice that you can't select multiple files. You can upload multiple files without Flash if you drag and drop files.

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  11. Gmail bugs me sometimes..
    since now u can't make multiple gmail accounts
    each time u make an account u need to verify with your handphone..i need a bug that don't require me to verify ..lol

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  12. (this happened several months ago) when using gmail with Apple Mail (via IMAP) and writing a message in the web interface, several incremental messages are created

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  13. @Alex Chitu: Yep you are right.

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