Serious bug forces Google to temporarily disable Android TV feature

Serious bug forces Google to temporarily disable Android TV feature
A bug that allows Android TV viewers to see Google Photos accounts from hundreds of strangers has forced Google to temporarily disable the photo sharing feature on Android TV. Using the Google Home app, a user can view pictures and videos from multiple linked Google Photos accounts. This allows a couple to see each other's images from their individual Photos accounts while watching Android TV.

The bug is allowing the Google Photos accounts of strangers to be linked to a user's Android TV. A tweet from an Android TV user in India says that when he checked the linked accounts on his device, "it basically lists what I imagine is every single person who owns this television. This is shocking incompetence." The problem appears to be an issue with the Google Home app in some Android TV units.

The person who first publicly mentioned this bug appears to be the aforementioned Indian Android TV user, who goes by the handle of Prashanth (@wothadei) on Twitter. He owns a 55-inch Vu LED TV that has Android TV built-in. According to Android Police, when Prashanth was trying to set up Backdrop/Ambient Mode on his Pixel 2 XL, hundreds of Google Photo accounts from strangers were linked to his own account. However, he could not actually view images from them since the Google Photos feature wasn't working.

We don't know if the problem is related to the fact that Prashanth's Vu TV is running Android 7.0 and has not had a security update since December 2017. At first, Google told him to contact the manufacturer, but then decided to investigate the issue. While it does that, Google has disabled Android TV users' ability to cast Google Assistant, and to view photos from Google Photos.


This is a pretty big bug. However, had Prashanth been able to actually view strangers' videos and pictures from their Google Photos account, this would have looked much worse for Google.

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