Global Outages Hit Gmail, YouTube And Many Google Services

Google services outage
gabrielle_cc / Pixabay

Several Google services sustained a massive outage affecting users around the world today, but the services were restored a few hours later. Affected services included Gmail, Drive, Google Music, Hangouts, Google Maps and YouTube.

Here’s what you need to know about the Google services outage

The Google services outage hit users in the U.S., Asia, Canada and Australia. Based on Down Detector, Gmail and YouTube started seeing disruptions after 10 p.m. Eastern on March 12. According to the G Suite Status Dashboard, Gmail and Google Drive users were getting “error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.” Google soon acknowledged the issues and admitted disruptions in its Cloud Engine.

“We are still seeing the increased error rate with Google App Engine Blobstore API. Our Engineering Team is investigating possible causes,” the search giant said.

In an update later, the search giant said there was an issue with the “underlying storage infrastructure” of its App Engine platform.

Affected users flooded social media platforms with complaints about the Google services outage. Some were disappointed that the outage was affecting their work, while others looked at the situation with a lighter view.

“So apparently Gmail is down in several countries around the world. They should just declare an International Non-Working Holiday,” one user tweeted.

At around 2:30 a.m. Eastern, Google issued a statement saying the services had been restored. However, the company did not reveal the cause of the outage. The Google services outage lasted for about three hours and 20 minutes, according to the dashboard.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better,” the search giant said.

What issues did users face?

Many Gmail users saw errors like this one: “Message could not be sent. Check your network and try again.” Others experienced issues while opening attachments. The mail service has more than 1 billion users.

Those seeing issues with Google Drive noticed spotty performance and that certain file types were not opening. Some users also encountered issues uploading and downloading from Google Drive.

In an update, Google said that until the outage was resolved, users could have problems “accessing or attaching files in various products” and “accessing and saving draft emails and sending emails.”

Users also experienced issues with Google Maps. Many who tried activating Street View mode got a black screen. In addition to standard free accounts, the Google Services outage also affected workplace G-Suite accounts. However, it is not clear to what extent paying users faced problems.

Meanwhile, YouTube was responding to complaints from users separately. The streaming platform’s support team said it was aware of the issue and was “looking into it.” YouTube content creators said they were unable to upload videos, while a similar issue was experienced by users trying to watch content.

Second global outage this year

This was Google’s second major outage this year. The first outage was reported on Jan. 29, but at the time, the issue was mainly with Gmail. Affected users complained about getting a 404 error when they tried to access the service. At the time, the Gmail outage affected users in Europe, parts of North America, South America and Asia.

Google was able to restore Gmail after about an hour. At the time, the company released a very similar statement informing users that the service was restored.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience …. We are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

Google didn’t share the cause of the issue back then either.

Smart Compose for Gmail users on Android

In other Google news, Android users got a useful Gmail feature last month. The feature, called Smart Compose, follows users’ writing patterns and languages used. It then automatically generates phrases they type often.

Gmail’s Smart Compose feature was first added to the desktop version of Gmail, followed by G Suite app accounts. Later it was introduced as a Pixel 3 device exclusive feature, but now the feature is available to other devices as well. The feature is auto-enabled, but you can turn it off anytime from the Gmail app’s settings.

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