Share this Story

Google Calendar Bug Could Lead to Awkward Situations (Updated)

A new bug is popping up in Google Calendar – one which you will likely never find yourself or it could potentially lead to a few embarrassing moments, depending on what type of calendar events you are creating. Recently, when a Calendar user created an event through the desktop app which was to remind themselves to ask their boss for a pay raise, they placed their boss’ email address in the subject line. Without prompting the user, the Calendar app went ahead and placed the event on their boss’ calendar as well, which more than likely led to an awkward moment for the employer and employee. 

Kellen and I have recreated the bug through our accounts, confirming that it does exist. Although, it doesn’t appear that the bug affects Google Apps users; only standard Gmail and Google account users. In addition, it appears that when creating an event through your mobile device, it doesn’t show up. Only though the desktop app.

While this isn’t a game stopping bug or anything like that, Google has been attempting to make their apps smarter with these auto-filling and auto-inviting options. For now, users should be made aware of this issue and should just go ahead and write in the person’s name and not their email address in the subject line.

You haven’t experienced this yet, have you?

Update: The events we created are now appearing in our Google Apps accounts, so it appears the “bug” is widespread and not just for regular Google accounts.

Via: The Verge | Terence Eden
  • Tomek G

    Problems with Google for business. Since they are continuously “improving” by adding and removing features, I am not surprised that more situations like that didn’t happen. The only product my company uses is standalone search appliance. We even got memo against usage of Chrome due to security concerns

  • Reminds me of the time my manager back then made a stupid request by mail and I was pissed off about it. Wanted to forward this mail to a friend with my comments about it. Instead I choose reply, luckily the manager was cool about it

  • Sean

    Just use Apple-Maps and nobody won’t find the location anyway.

  • George Davis

    Not only does it seem strange to include the boss’s email in the subject line, but why include “the boss” at all? Who else are you going to ask for a raise, the mailman? (Unless the mailman is your boss, I guess.) “OK Google Now, remind me to ask for a raise tomorrow morning.” Done.

  • 640k

    Ive known about this “feature” since 2012 when I was unemployed, looking for a job. If I created a celndar event, and included the email address of some one I was meeting,it automatically sent out an invitation. This was not a good idea during the interview phase and led to confusion. Luckily most of my interviewers were tech savvy enough to brush it off.

  • acras

    So someone being dumb and not paying attention to how a service works is now considered a bug? Why would you have to put your bosses email in the subject line? Wouldn’t “raise” suffice? Change the event to private so it doesn’t send invites? I think the users actions will explain to them why they don’t deserve a raise.

  • jbegs

    Did you guys try replicating the issue in the Google Apps section or is it just showing from the desktop event you guys created? I would think the event created in the desktop version that has the bug would still show in the app version since it does get “sent” out ultimately.

  • Bryan Gaynor

    Why did this person use Calendar for this? This is precisely the sort of application that the Reminder feature is for in Keep. I wouldn’t even consider this a valid use case, to be honest — who the hell puts a person’s email address in the subject line of a calendar event, particularly one on a sensitive topic? Why not simply “ask boss for raise”, if you really just can’t avoid making a calendar entry for it?

    • Chris

      Because in Calendar there is a section for “tasks” and if you don’t set digital reminders often then why download an app that will only be used for at least 24-48 hours? That rate you are better off just remembering it your self.

      The main issue here is the fact it appears to have been done from his work account.

      • JRomeo

        the Keep app is awesome! you should try it… and best part of all is that it syncs with google and you can easily access your keep notes at keep.google.com !

        • Chris

          I’ll stick to the well known and well respected evernote.

          • JRomeo

            the reason why I promoted Keep was because you can still add audio clips or pictures to a note, like evernote can, and I also heard that evernote support was ending, not sure if true, but if it is then you will be happy to know that keep is a google product owned by google, and it syncs really nicely with keep.google.com

          • Brian Barcus

            Can’t let that ‘Evernote support’ ending comment just sit there. I don’t have any inside information but Evernote is still a growing company that is based entirely on the one product. It would be truly shocking to see them end any time soon. I use both Keep and Evernote. I prefer Keep for jotting quick notes with reminders. Evernote is better for long term storage and retrieval. Any note in Keep that turns out to be worth keeping (no pun intended) moves to Evernote.

    • George Davis

      Good point, but I would actually use Google Now for this. I use Keep for notes that are not time-specific. Reminders are easier to set up in Google Now IMO. Definitely would not use Calendar to set a reminder though.

  • Bill Morrow

    Sounds like Outlook to me, sounds expected.

  • David Serio

    I created a calendar entry with an email address and when I clicked save, I was prompted if I wanted to send out an invitation. That should have clued him in this isn’t a “regular” calendar entry and to double check the details, which for me, showed the email address I put in the subject as a guest.

    • jbegs

      Apparently it still sends out the invite.

      • David Serio

        It didn’t when I said don’t send an invite. It did put it on the other person’s calendar, but the pop up that appears should clue you into checking out the calendar entry more closely since it normally does’t do that. But, Google could make it more obvious this behavior will happen, which I am sure they will.

  • markswoods

    I experienced this just yesterday and it was awkward. I was putting an appointment on my calendar to meet with friends for dinner – a dinner one of those friends had set up. When I included his name in the subject, he then received an invite for MY dinner.

    • Gr8Ray

      I bet it was even more awkward when you uninvited him.

  • …why would you put an email address in the subject line of your calendar request? Particularly in this case, their boss’s email address. Does this person regularly forget their boss’s email address to the point where it’s necessary to place it in the subject line of the calendar entry? I mean they’re clearly using Google, which means Gmail will autofill it for them.

    I dunno. This just seems like such an incredibly niche issue as to be a basically non-issue. Not saying it’s not a bug, maybe, but this usage is pretty far out of typical behavior, which might explain why nobody ever noticed it before.

    • Gr8Ray

      I’m glad you posted this, because I was about to say the exact same thing. “Reminder to self: ask boss for a raise. Also, just in case you forgot who your boss is, or what his email address is, put boss’s email addy in the subject line. Because that makes sense. Ever.”

    • CHRIS42060

      You have a very good point. If this guys boss is anything like mine I can never forget her e-mail address. I get a lot of email.

  • wmsco1

    Oops no beating around the bush now huh? So Google thinks you need a raise?

  • Had to try it for myself, and yup, that’s what happens. Was curious if maybe it was just a Chrome thing, but it happened in Firefox, too.

    • It’s a web service. There’s no mechanism through which it would be tied to the browser, as the browser itself wouldn’t have the functions needed to connect through the backend of the Calendar service and issue a calendar invite. It can ONLY be a problem with the Calendar service itself.

  • BK

    I love the automated approach Google is taking to many products, with Google Now being perhaps the best example. I find most of it really helpful (and geeky cool).

    But anytime information will be accessible to another person – regardless of what that information is – it should be crystal clear to the user and the user should be in full control. I feel Google has done a decent job with this so far, but the issue is only going to grow in importance.

  • Jason Downing

    I have not experienced that myself, but that’s good to know as I have been using my Calendar a lot more lately!

  • Stuart MacGregor

    Did the guy get the raise?

    • Cael

      Did Google offer to give the guy a pay raise after Google screwed his chances up on his own?


        Ha! Nope

    • Jeff

      That’s the most interesting part of this article. What happened to the guy? I hope he got a raise.

      • michael arazan

        Must be using a company account to have it synced with his boss’ email so his boss can clearly see what is on his calendar or update it for him and vice versa. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. But I have only asked for a raise once, every other time I was just given a raise for being a good employee. The one time I asked for a raise I got a new job title instead, like that is going to pay the bills.