Gmail promo for Priority Inbox creeps out Chrome users

Bug triggers background music, sparks malware fears

Chrome users yesterday bombarded Google's Gmail support forum with complaints about music suddenly playing in the background when they reached their inboxes.

Some feared that their machines had been infected with malware.

"Those sound effects are quite unnerving when you first hear it," said a user identified as "goz3" on the Gmail support board . "I really thought it was some sort of twisted virus."

"I thought it was a virus, too," echoed "bradleyctclarke" on the same thread.

The cause, said a Google representative on the support forum, was a video promoting the e-mail service's new Priority Inbox feature.

Although the Google support rep said that the company was "working on fixing this" and apologized for the bug, Computerworld confirmed that the background video and its ragtime-style music was still affecting Chrome users on Tuesday.

Other browsers, such as Safari and Firefox, did not automatically fire up the video and its tune.

"I thought my account had been hacked -- especially when I heard the scrunching of paper," added goz3 in an earlier message Monday. "I thought, oh sh*t, my mail is being eaten up."

The unwanted music played only on machines running Chrome, and then only for users who have had the Priority Inbox feature enabled by Google. The new tool, designed to automatically rearrange messages to put the most important at the top of the inbox, is being rolled out in stages by Google, which yesterday said that it would reach everyone within the next week.

The gaffe is reminiscent of one Google made last May when a JavaScript-based version of the 1980 video game Pac-Man freaked out Firefox users , who heard siren sounds and offbeat music in the background when they were at the search engine 's home page.

"MAKE IT STOP!" shouted someone tagged as "bleepo" on Monday. "If I get some annoying sound or ad every time I open Gmail on Chrome it will be enough to make me not use it."

To quell the music, Chrome users should click on the Priority Inbox link in the upper right, then stop the video play in the pop-up window.

Some Chrome users thought their machines were infected with malware when Gmail suddenly started playing music.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags e-commerceGooglesecurityWeb 2.0 and Web Appsinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?