There is apparently a Google News bug happening right now, to a number of users, where the app is using several gigabytes (seemingly overnight) in background data. Causing many users to hit their data caps, even on their WiFi network. It is something that Google is investigating, though it has not yet mentioned why Google news is using up so much background data just yet. The Google News Community Manager, Lisa Wang replied to a thread on the Google Product Forums regarding this issue thanking users for reporting the issue, and that the team is working to get it resolved as quickly as possible. Wang also mentioned that "the relevant teams are currently investigating and working towards a fix" continuing by saying that they will be posting updates directly to that thread. There's still no word on what exactly the issue is, or why it's using so much data. But for now, you may want to turn off background data for Google News, if you are worried about hitting your data cap.
It's pretty common for apps like this to use data in the background, particularly overnight when it is charging. That is because it won't use up any of your juice pulling down new information. So the fact that it is using a ton of data overnight is not surprising. The issue here is how much data it is using. Some users are seeing it use over five gigabytes of data overnight, which is pretty incredible. This issue doesn't seem to be affecting everyone though. There are a number of users on the Google Product Forums having the issue, but none of us here at Android Headlines are experiencing this issue. It's likely happening to those that subscribe to a lot of news publications, or use the Google News app pretty heavily.
Background: Google revamped Google News this past year, with the new app launching at Google I/O. It was a major overhaul and was replacing the Google News & Weather app that was pre-installed on most Android smartphones for a number of years. Google decided to do a major overhaul to bring the news front-and-center to its users. Not only making it easier to stay caught up on the news they care about, but also make it easier to find the news that they might care about. The new Google News app features a section that has the latest news that Google thinks you would care about. And that is based on the news you have read in Google News and online in general. Google is able to do this since you already logged into Google virtually everywhere and can see what you are reading elsewhere, to know what subjects you are interested in. The new Google News also has a revamped design, which is now more material than the older app, and recently it rolled out a new dark theme (though it's not black, just a dark gray, so not exactly made for OLED smartphones). Google also set out to revamp Google News to make it easier for everyone to read the news, including those on lower-end phones (like Android Go), and those with data caps and slower data speeds. Which is kind of ironic given the current issue with Google News. There is also a version of Google News designed for Android Go, which is a smaller app, but it also doesn't refresh in the background, so you are not using your data on refreshing news stories in Google News which is also pretty important.
Google News is a really good app to use for keeping up with the latest news, instead of needing to install the apps for your favorite publications, you can get them all right there in one app. However, this issue with the background data in Google News is quite serious and something that Google definitely needs to get fixed. Google has already been working on the issue for over a month, seeing as it was made aware (and replied) of the issue since September 19. The team hasn't done much other than ask a few questions to try and narrow down the issue to get it resolved. Hopefully it's something they can get fixed up pretty soon, as this can become a pretty expensive bug for its users. And it's very unlikely that Google will reimburse everyone for their overages, due to Google News.
Impact: Many reports are citing pretty big data usage amounts for Google News, with one hitting over 28GB in just a short period of time. For some people, these are resulting in some pretty big data overages, and as you can imagine, they are not too happy. For example, the user that had 28GB of data used by Google News, is going to be seeing a $45 overage from their wireless carrier. And this is because it isn't just happening on WiFi, but also on mobile data. Which is a bit strange since apps are usually using data more sparingly on mobile data versus a WiFi connection, since there are tighter caps on those mobile data plans versus WiFi.
Hopefully it's something that Google can get fixed up pretty soon. But for now, everyone may want to turn off background data for the Google News app, especially if you do have a data cap. If you are in the US, or another country that has unlimited data, it may not be as big of an issue. Or you may just want to uninstall the application altogether to make sure that it doesn't hit your data cap. It seems like it is a much bigger issue than Google anticipated, and it's a bit odd seeing as it is only hitting some users and not all. It actually seems to be a pretty small amount of users, when you consider how many use Google News. But Google has assured everyone that this is high on their priority list to get fixed. You can check out the Google Product Forums thread to find out whether Google has fixed it yet.