Google services, apps hit by global outage

The company’s popular business apps and services, including Gmail, Docs, Workspace, Sheets and Meet were knocked offline for more than a half hour Monday morning.

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A range of Google services, including Gmail and Google Docs, were unavailable to customers for more than a half hour Monday morning due to an outage. The services have now been largely restored and are available for most users, Google said.

Users across the world were unable to access the gamut of Google’s productivity and collaboration tools, which also include Google Calendar, Sheets, Meet and Chat. Customers in Europe appeared to be the hardest hit, according to the Down Detector website, with the outage occurring around lunchtime for those in the UK; users on the U.S. east coast also faced disruption just as the work day was getting started.

The outage was acknowledged by Google at 6:55 a.m. ET; the company said it affected “the majority of users.” The outage was subsequently downgraded to a “service disruption” at 7:31 a.m. ET, with some users still affected.

Google announced that the problem had largely been resolved at 7:52 a.m. ET.

“The problem with Gmail should be resolved for the vast majority of affected users,” Google said on its service status page. It promised to “continue to work towards restoring service for the remaining affected users. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

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Down Detector showed a variety of Google services in trouble early Monday morning.

Other Google services affected included YouTube, Maps, and Google Nest.

Asked about the outage, Google in a statement blamed authentication issues and promised a follow-up review to avoid future problems.

“Today at 3.47 a.m. PT, Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue," the comapny said. "Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32 a.m. PT. All services are now restored. We apologize to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”

Raul Castanon, a senior analyst at 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence, weighed in on the outage: “A global Google outage is the icing on the cake for 2020, highlighting that the transition to remote work is still a work in progress,” he said.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has added momentum to cloud-based applications for enabling a distributed workforce; however, with 1.5 billion Gmail users, this incident shows that a global outage can have a significant impact, with many schools and companies relying on Google for continuity.”

Millions of businesses rely on Google’s cloud services, with a surge in demand for its Meet video service during this year’s pandemic. Google’s Workspace platform (formerly G Suite), has 6 million paid business customers globally, according to data from April. That’s an increase from 4 million in 2018.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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