Glitchiness with Google Docs

May 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

Update 4 PM Central: It appears that this problem has been corrected

One of our teachers at our pilot Google Docs campus emailed me this afternoon:

So sorry to bother…I just created a spreadsheet and shared it with xxxxx…it sent her an email, but it doesn’t seem to exist anywhere!  I logged out, logged back in…I’m pretty much clueless! =(

I connected remotely to her machine and sure enough, the document wasn’t showing in her list. I tried the easy things first, shift + refresh to override the cache, tried it in Firefox instead of IE, all to no avail.

Since I have admin access, I pulled up the email that the other teacher received from Google saying that she had a document shared with her and clicked on the link, just to see what kind of error I’d get. Of course, it said I didn’t have access to that document, which told me that the document was still available, but I just didn’t have access to it. On that error screen, there was a button to request access, so I clicked it.

Since I was connected to the teacher’s machine, I watched as she went to her email, clicked on the link (Google had sent her an email saying that I’d requested access to the document) and voila! Up came the doc.

I took control of her machine again, and shared the doc with myself. This was all good news because it meant that the document hadn’t mysteriously disappeared, she just couldn’t see it in her docs list. So I shared it with myself, and here’s where we figured out the issue – I went back to my list of docs, refreshed, and nothing happened.

Next step…I created a document myself, shared it with the teacher, closed the doc, went back to my docs list, refreshed, and again, nothing new.

I went through every possible combination of displays I could think of: shared with me, recently opened by my, last modified, and on and on. Nothing brought up that document. Until….

Until I did a search. Here’s the screen shots of what my docs list looks like…there are at least three different docs I created today or that were shared with me today that are missing:

And here’s what popped up when I started doing a search for one of those documents:

When you search, you get the little “working” message at the top, and after a few seconds, it pops up in the search list, and magically appears in the document list.

I’ve been able to reproduce this in Firefox, IE 8, and Chrome. However, using the Google Docs app for my Android, I see ALL of the documents I created today.

Evidently, IE 9 doesn’t have the problem either. One of my colleagues in the office has IE9 on his machine, and I shared a document with him and it showed up immediately.

Here’s the kicker: if I open the document from the list after searching for it, it appears that it will then stay in the list. I’ve been able to repeat that 3-4 times.

I’ve contacted Google support on this, but received a tweet earlier from Chris saying they’d seen a similar issue a couple of weeks ago and that Google said they were working on a fix. I’ve also received tweets from Brinda and Brian confirming the glitch (thanks to everyone for their help!)

Although there is a workaround, this could have some serious consequences, especially for those schools who may not have email turned on for students, and just rely on documents showing up in a student or teacher’s list when it’s shared with them.

This is the first major glitch I’ve seen like this in Google Docs, but if it doesn’t get worked out, it may force us to reconsider rolling Google Docs out to the whole district.

Please, Google, work quickly to resolve this!

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