A long time ago the financial industry started outsourcing functions. Some of the earliest functions to be outsourced were related to public filings, starting with the printing of various public filings, such as a prospectus. Over time, as filing became electronic, the responsibility for the delivery of these documents to the regulatory bodies (such as the SEC) became the responsibility of the outsourcer.
On October 18th, the filing for Google was accidentally released a day early. Since Google's earnings were less than the market had predicted, Google probably planned to release this at the last possible minute on Friday, and hope that it would be forgotten or overshadowed by some other firm's big news on Monday. The release on Friday led to a sharp drop in Google's stock price, and a loss of over $20 billion dollars of value. Who's fault was it? The financial printer and outsourcer, R.R. Donnelley. Donnelley, along with Williams Lea and a few other firms dominates the world of outsourced financial filings.
This isn't the first time that financial data has been released prematurely, but this mistake is unique in scale and possibly in it's impact on Donnell and other financial outsourcers. It's a big mistake, but the big drop in value was due the content of the filings more than the timing. Will Wall Street shoot the messenger? We'll soon find out!