Home Physics Information Technology Google outage, with 45 min of no Gmail, YouTube, explained

Google outage, with 45 min of no Gmail, YouTube, explained

The outage lasted for around an hour when it affected Google users across the world, denying them access to 19 of the company's services

Google outage explained

Google services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive faced a mass outage on Monday (14 December). The outage lasted for around an hour and it affected Google users across the world. During the outage, millions of Google users were unable to access emails or YouTube.

A Google spokesperson said the outage of “approximately 45 minutes” was due to “an internal storage quota issue”. The statement said “services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period”. “All services are now restored”, it said, apologising to everyone affected and promising a “thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”

Shortly after the outage, Google said that Gmail was facing an issue and the status page showed red for most services fior few minutes. “We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a majority of users. The affected users are unable to access Gmail. We will provide an update by 12/14/20, 5:42 PM detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change,” said an update on the Google Workspace Status dashboard, posted at 5:25 PM IST.

By 6:22 PM, Google had updated that “problem with Gmail should be resolved for the vast majority of affected users”. By then most other Google services also started functioning normally.

It initially said, “system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better”. 

With a service of the scale and reach of Google — just Gmail and YouTube together have over 3.5 billion global users — it is now increasingly rare to see an outage that affects all services and users. This is because users, even from a single geography, are hosted over multiple servers across the world. And even on these servers, there are backups that activate quickly if something goes wrong.

However, the Monday outage was not really localised, and was among the larger ones experienced in recent times. At its peak, DownDetector.com recorded over 1,12,000 issues on YouTube and almost 40,000 for Gmail from users in different parts of the world.


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