A glitch in Google Talk routed instant messages incorrectly on Thursday morning, exposing private text chats to unintended recipients.
About three hours passed from the moment Google acknowledged the problem on its Apps Status site and the moment it declared it solved.
But judging from the frantic and horrified messages posted by affected users in discussion forums and social media outlets like Twitter, the bug may have been active for about five hours.
The entries about the problem in the Apps Status site simply state that Google Talk wasn't "functioning correctly."
It's not clear how many people were affected nor how many IMs were delivered incorrectly.
Google is in the process of migrating its various IM and audio/video chat services to a new one called Hangouts, which will replace Google Chat, Google Talk and Google Plus Messenger.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, a Gmail bug that took about 10 hours to fix and hit close to 50 percent of the webmail service's users caused email delivery delays and difficulties downloading attachments.
And, as first reported by IDG News Service on Wednesday, Google has been unsuccessfully battling another Gmail bug related to inline images in messages that locks unsuspecting users out of their accounts.