Google has solved a problem that affected the layout and functionality of the "Start" pages of its Apps hosted collaboration and communications suite.

Although the bug had the potential to affect many customers, it manifested itself only in instances when Apps administrators had customised their organisations' Start page, said Rishi Chandra, Google Apps product manager.

The problem arose on Thursday evening and was finally solved at around noon on Friday.

Apps administrators who reported problems in the official Apps discussion forum described what they perceived as being an erratic Start page update designed to make it look and act more like iGoogle, the company's personalised home page service for consumers.

However, Chandra said that wasn't the case, although he understands why the administrators would interpret the incident that way, since the iGoogle logo replaced company logos in affected pages. The problem was caused by a system bug that altered Start pages layouts, broke some links and interfered with some "gadget" applications, like the one for Gmail, he said.

With a permanent fix now in place, all affected Start pages should have reverted back to their normal layout and operation without any loss of data or functionality, Chandra said. Google had prematurely declared the problem solved late on Thursday, but problem reports kept flowing in.