Explained: Reason behind 45-minute global outage for Gmail, YouTube and other Google services

During the outage, millions of Google users were unable to access emails or Youtube.

Google services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive faced a mass outage on Monday (December 14). 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 spokespersonsaid 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 5.25PM 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”. 

It is to be noted that Gmail and YouTube together have over 3.5 billion global users and the outage affected all these users, which means that the problem was not small.

Experts maintain that the outage witnessed on Monday was not 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.

Google needs to address this problem as there has been a massive surge in users across all online services and Google services are very popular among netizens. Experts are raising questions whether Google's backend infrastructure is strong enough to tackle the spike in load.

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