Nov 11th, 2013

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An unfortunate bug seems to have surfaced in the latest Hangouts app for Android. Reddit user Recon0212 initially reported the bug, which could be experience-breaking for many people. So what’s going on? Well, if you are in a Hangout with many people — 12 for Recon — you could potentially lock up the participants’ app by spamming them with emojis. This means you’d be unable to enter the app and do anything. Pretty scary, right?

Thankfully, Google has been made aware of the bug. Googler Dan Morril chimed in on the Reddit thread and confirmed that he was able to reproduce the bug in the presence of a product manager. He notes “top men” are already notified and are looking into it.

What can you do in the meantime? The most convenient thing to do is to open Hangouts on a PC and remove yourself from the problematic group chat. It’s not ideal, but would you even still want to be in a group chat with people who spam emojis all day?

Oh, and since this means your SMS messages would be inaccessible, you’ll probably want to install a third-party SMS app to make sure you don’t miss anything important while you get yourself out of the sticky situation.

It might not be a bad idea to get a backup SMS app even if you haven’t been unfortunate enough to be affected by this bug — you never know when someone in your chat might be feeling a bit overzealous. We’ll be on the lookout for the update in the days or weeks to come.