In a nutshell: If, for some unknown reason, you recently decided to type the same word five times into a Google Docs document and found it crashed the app, don’t worry—you’re not alone. It was all the fault of a bizarre bug that Google has now fixed.
User Pat Needham wrote on Google’s support pages (via ZDNet) that writing the text string “And. And. And. And. And.” on a Docs page within Chrome crashed the app. He confirmed it was present in Docs in his personal, G Suite Basic, and work account, and other users said it was also present in Firefox.
The issue was discussed on Hacker News, leading to speculation that it could be somehow related to the programming language or perhaps just a coding error.
People then set about looking for other words that would also crash Google Docs when typed five times with a period between each one. Some of those discovered included Therefore, Anyway, But, Who, Why, Besides, However, Dearness, Although, Besides, and Moreover.
One user wanted to do a thorough search for trigger words, so they started running through the entire dictionary in batches of 500 words. They discovered that Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, and Fourthly cause the bug, but strangely enough, Fifthly and any words above it (i.e., sixthly, seventhly, etc.) had no effect.
It didn’t take long for Google to respond to the post on its support page and confirm it was working on a fix. One assumes it couldn’t have been too challenging to address the issue as the quirk now appears to be gone. No word yet on what was the cause.
Image credit: XanderSt