Update: Google has now confirmed the cause the issues, which rocked millions of Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube users earlier today. In a statement to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson for the company said: “Today, at 3.47am PT Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue. Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32AM PT.
“All services are now restored. We apologise to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”
The original article, which was published while some services were still experiencing difficulties, appears below…
Google services have gone down for users across the globe. The Californian search company is experiencing issues with a huge number of its platforms, including YouTube, video call service Google Meet, Google Calendar and more. Google Assistant-enabled Nest smart speakers, including the Nest Hub and Google Nest Mini, are also not responding. Unfortunately, that means those who rely on the AI voice assistant to control smart home kit, like smart light bulbs and thermostats, will be unable to switch off their lights, or change the heating for the moment. Gmail is also suffering from the same outage, with users unable to send or receive messages, or chat using G chat or Hangouts. Some have raised concerns the outage has caused emails to vanish from their inbox.
Google issued a short statement about the outage, which has now lasted some 40-minutes, saying it was “aware of the problem”. Hinting at the sheer scale of the problems, Google confirmed that a “majority” of customers were unable to access its web services, including Google Docs, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube. Given that Gmail alone boasts a staggering 1.5 billion users worldwide, the fact that the “majority” of users across these services were impacted shows the vast scale of the problems. Unfortunately, Google did not give a reason for the worldwide outages in its statement.
As such, it remains unclear exactly what is causing the problems, which have also impacted the likes of Google Calendar, Google Classroom (the education suite used by thousands of schools) and Google Maps. However, some users have speculated that the issues are linked to the authentication tools used in Google Account. These universal logins are used across Google web apps, from Calendar to YouTube, Google Maps to Gmail, to keep tabs on your previous search history, settings and preferences, and more.
Any service that requires a Google Account to enable features is currently down, while some others – like the main Google.co.uk search page – are not. We won’t know whether this is the case until it’s confirmed by Google, but it does make a certain amount of sense.
Outages with Google services are pretty rare, thankfully. And there might never have been one on this scale before. However, whenever they do occur they cause a huge amount of chaos due to the sheer number of services that rely on Google products, from restaurants that use embedded Google Maps to help customers find their location to food delivery services, couriers trying to deliver a deluge of Christmas parcels, as well as schools and workplaces that use Google web apps to organise meetings. The outage is also affecting video games, like the immensely-successful Pokémon Go, which uses Google Maps technology to power its gameplay.
Google Play Store, which is used by the billions of Android smartphone and tablet owners worldwide to download new apps, update their existing apps and security features, subscribe to services like Netflix, and download ebooks and rent films, is also down, according to users on social media.
MORE LIKE THIS
Use Google Chrome, Edge or Firefox? Watch out for this dangerous browser malware
Independent service DownDetector, which tracks the performance of online services using mentions from across social media, shows a large spike in complaints about all Google services in the UK, mainland Europe and parts of the United States. According to the website, more than 23,000 people are complaining about Gmail not working every minute in the UK alone. According to data from DownDector, more than 40,000 people are experiencing difficulties with YouTube right now.
So, if you’re unable to connect to YouTube, plan a route on Google Maps, check your upcoming appointments on Google Calendar, or call a colleague using Google Meet – you’re far from alone. Unfortunately, despite the sheer number of complaints being filed by users every minute, Google has yet to explain why the problems have occurred.
It also hasn’t revealed when those who rely on Google online services can expect to be able to get back to work, school, or killing time watching ASMR videos on YouTube…
The problems seemingly started around 11:45am GMT, according to the data gathered by DownDetector. The reports of problems soon spiked. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like any one service encountered the issues before the others… with all Google properties going offline for tends of thousands at the same time. Enterprise customers, education users, as well as consumers who rely on Google apps to plan their time or run a small business, were all impacted at midday when reports surged across the globe.
Users have taken to Twitter to mock Google for the outage. Some have tweeted GIFs suggesting that rival Microsoft Teams, which boasts many of the same features as Gmail and Google Meet. Another posted: “Realising that your work greatly relies on @google.”