Updated May 31, 2024 - Technology

Google Cloud error erases $135B pension fund

Illustration of clouds shaped like dollar bill signs

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Earlier this month, Google's cloud platform deleted the entire customer account, including some backups, of UniSuper.

Why it matters: Fortunately for the $135 billion Australian pension fund's 647,000 members, some of UniSuper's backups on Google Cloud's servers and elsewhere were salvageable, and the fund was able to recover its data, teaching us all a lesson about having multiple redundancies.

What they're saying: This was not a "systemic issue," Google says.

  • "An inadvertent misconfiguration" during a setup left a data field blank, which then triggered the system to automatically delete the account.

The big picture: Google is having a rough 2024. In addition to this mishap, the company is reeling from its AI Overview debut and its disastrous AI-generated image tool launch.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that some of UniSuper's backups on Google Cloud's servers were not erased.

Go deeper