Google product users woke up to quite the surprise earlier this week when the company experienced widespread outages that left products like Gmail and YouTube inaccessible, according to Bloomberg and other news outlets. Users received notices like, “Something went wrong” on YouTube and “There was an error. Please try again later” when they tried to log into their Gmail accounts starting around 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Users in the United States, United Kingdom and across Europe experienced these issues.
Fortunately, Google’s tools began working again for a lot of people after about an hour. The company confirmed there was an outage for a lot of its services on a Workspace Status Dashboard, which monitors its products’ health. Most users saw the products regain functionality around 8:00 a.m. EST, however. Google stated the issue was due to a technical flaw in its services that require users to log in rather than a cyber- attack.
“Today, at 3:47AM PT Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue,” a company spokeswoman said. “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.”
Although websites and providers have experienced outages before, Google’s was unique in that it touched multiple parts of its portfolio, according to Bloomberg. DownDetector, a website that collates user-reported errors on sites and mobile networks, noted that there were tens of thousands of complaints about Google’s outage by 7:00 a.m. EST, which included the company’s tools like Drive, Meet, Maps and even its “smart” home products like Nest. Meanwhile, games that require a Google login like Pokemon Go was impacted, too.
Last month, Amazon experienced a similar issue. The company’s cloud-computing division’s outage affected users’ ability to use almost two dozen services such as Adobe, digital photo service Flickr and streaming software maker Roku.
Google outage impacts “smart” home devices, too
The Internet of Things and private wireless networks are often discussed in the commercial real estate industry as they can power a building’s “smart” devices like automatic locks, thermostats and security systems. It’s often taken for granted that as long as a building’s connectivity is strong, these devices will function without issue. Google’s outage proved that isn’t always the case however—users who rely on the company’s Home service to control smart devices like house lights found themselves in the dark when the outage occurred.
“What you have is an increasingly smaller number of technology providers that are systemically important,” World Economic Forum cybersecurity expert William Dixon told The New York Times. “If there is one issue, then the cascades of that are quite significant.”
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.