When it comes to bugs, where do Google's priorities lie?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| Published: December 31, 2010

Have you ever sent a text message to the wrong contact? It always seems to be the juiciest, most controversial text message you could have possibly sent. It's one thing if you the error is your own mistake, but what if it isn't? What if your phone made the error? According to a poll on ZDNet, 19% of Android users have experienced a SMS bug that sends messages to the wrong contact, on its very own.

Still aren't sure how the bug affects people? Using the stock Messaging application, here's what happens (at random):

  1. Sender composes a message meant for Recipient A
  2. Sender sends message, Recipient B receives message
  3. Message appears in Recipient A thread with Recipient B's number as the call back number
  4. Recipient B and Sender scratch heads in confusion, Recipient A remains oblivious

The potentially dangerous little bug has been mentioned in the Android Developer's forum and has been ranked as “Priority-Medium.” Of course, it's just a bug and in most cases a simple “Sorry, my phone has a mind of its own,” will set everything right. However, there is the possibility of derailing marriages on the fritz, missing important events, and it could even interfere with getting in touch with those ICE contacts when in dire need...all without the user knowing.

The bug was reported six months ago and it remains unresolved, still sitting at “Priority-Medium.” What does this say for Android? Being the most popular mobile platform in the US, you would expect Google to be on top of things and resolve some serious bugs like this STAT. Unfortunately, Google fails to see the seriousness in the glitch. Not that it would matter much to the multi-billion dollar company, but the issue could eventually lead to a slew of lawsuits and other bad publicity for them.

It isn't confirmed, but I would assume the issue has been resolved in Gingerbread, seeing that it's listed specifically as “Version 2.2” error. But it will be months on end before users actually get their serving of Gingerbread. Will those on 2.2 ever see a fix? The publicity this has received just today has led to a flurry of outraged comments on the Android Developer's Blog. Hopefully this will bring a little more light to the issue and potentially get some acknowledgment from ol' Goog.

I haven't experienced the issue first hand, but I've had quite a few emails and text messages asking me if I knew anything about it. My guess is more people are affected by the bug than are aware. From the time I started writing this until just now (roughly 30 minutes) the percentage of people affected by the bug has jumped from 14% to 19%, which tells me that people just didn't know it was a bug.

Even if this isn't the most serious issue that we Android users could face, it has the potential to be somewhat fateful. It makes you wonder what Google's priorities are. Would it take this long for a very serious security issue to get resolved? It isn't likely, and while this may seem like a "Priority-Medium" issue for Google, text messages are a big part of many people's lives. Many of us text our coworkers. What if the wrong message was sent to the wrong person and someone lost a job? It would indirectly be Google's fault.

Have you experienced this issue and how often does it happen? Has it led to embarassment or something worse? Also, is there anyone out there on Gingerbread experiencing this issue?