Online services provided by the likes of Google, YouTube, and Snapchat went down for many users on Sunday evening and are continuing to suffer widespread outages at the time of writing. Users on the East Coast appear to be the worst affected. According to online forum posts, the outage has also knocked out smart locks made by Google-owned Nest.
Google has put the issue down to “high levels of network congestion” passing through its Cloud service, which powers many popular online services.
The problems began on Sunday at around 3:25 p.m. ET, with complaints from users prompting Google to post a message saying it was investigating the issue.
At 6 p.m. ET the web giant confirmed that most of its apps and services — among them G Suite (Gmail/Docs/Calendar etc.) and YouTube — were failing to function in the usual way. And with a number of Nest users complaining of problems with their smart locks and thermostats, the outage highlighted once again our growing reliance on cloud-based services in all aspects of our lives — and the disruption caused when such failures occur.
“Users may see slow performance or intermittent errors,” Google said in a message posted Cloud Status Dashboard webpage. “Our engineering teams have completed the first phase of their mitigation work and are currently implementing the second phase, after which we expect to return to normal service.”
As the afternoon progressed, it became clear that additional services were also suffering operational issues. These included Snapchat, video-streaming site Vimeo, and gamer-focused chat software Discord, according to messages posted on social media forums throughout Sunday afternoon.
Down Detector, a site that monitors the performance of online services, is showing that as of 7.30 p.m. ET, the Google’s Cloud outage is still serious, affecting large parts of the north-east and California, as well as other parts of the U.S. Further afield, parts of Europe and Brazil also appear to be heavily impacted.
This is a developing story and Digital Trends will update as the evening continues. It’s a promising sign that Google was relatively quick to acknowledge the issue, and so we can at least be reassured with the knowledge that its engineers are working to resolve it.
This latest outage comes a couple of months after Facebook suffered the worst disruption in its history. The 15 hours of downtime in mid-March knocked out not only its social networking site, but also Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, all of which it owns. The company put it down to “a server configuration change,” which suggests someone messed up in the IT department.
Update: At 5.09 p.m. ET, Google said the network congestion issue “has been resolved for all affected users.” However, Down Detector’s map shows that some locations are still experiencing problems, suggesting that it may take a little while for all of the services to return to normal. Google said it’ll be conducting an investigation to find out what happened, and also make “appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence. It added that it’ll post a report on the incident once its investigation is complete.
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