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Typically when an app (not a messaging app) is not in active use, it is relegated to the background and goes into hibernation, periodically checking for updates – however, Google’s News App for Android kept hitting servers at full bandwidth, even when not in use, racking up hundreds of dollars in mobile data bills for some users.
Due to this issue, which was reportedly highlighted in September and acknowledged by Google, some users saw gigabytes of mobile data being used up in a single day, and switching the app settings to Wifi only didn’t seem to help much.
Given how expensive mobile data can be, it is not surprising that a UK user has been billed over £190:
“I’ve had the same problem last week here in the UK and have reported this to O2 as they have billed me £194 for excess data usage. I have just added my own message and then spotted this thread. Google you need to contact all service providers and sort out this appalling error and refund all those affected.”
Google’s response to this in September was that the team was aware of the issue and was looking into it – but that may not be good enough for some, who are lodging complaints with their network providers and may even consider legal recourse.
While software bugs are nothing new and most terms of service agreements cover companies against certain actions, they are obliged to roll out fixes and patches at the earliest.
Meanwhile, you can read more about this on the Verge, and double check your mobile data usage if you’ve got the Google News App installed on your phone.