Google’s Global Blackout Hits YouTube, Gmail, and Google Drive

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Have you ever imagined a day without Google?

Have you imagined that Google’s outage can lead to huge business losses?

Do you have any idea about which services might be affected by Google’s Global blackout?

What would be the impact of the outage on the users?

We hope that our most loved Google never breaks down for even a second. The consequences it might cause are beyond our imagination. The disruption in the services might create turbulence in the minds of the users. A small outage can affect loads of services like:  

  • Google Play Store 
  • Google Docs 
  • Google Slides
  • Google Sheets 
  • Google Hangouts

And the list continues. There are a lot of people whose homes are controlled by Google Home, their life would come to a standstill for that moment. There are a lot of people whose businesses run over email chats, just think over the consequences it might lead to. 

An image of Google Headquarter, California
Google Headquarter, California (Courtesy: Pixambo Free Stock photos)

The thing we were hoping not to face has happened, Google’s services abruptly went down on 14 December 2020. It impacted more than 40,000 cases within 10 minutes. Among the services that were disrupted at that time were Gmail, Google Search, YouTube, and Drive. This blackout was more intense than the last one. It commenced at 5 pm IST today and affected thousands of people within minutes all around the world. The maximum disappointment came from YouTube and Gmail, which caused people to an uproar on Twitter about being left abandoned on the first day of the week. Users faced severe problems with all the Google’s services which were taken to Twitter that very second. 

Google’s Workspace Dashboard showed a blackout for almost all the services that are handled by the company. The company has not issued any specific comment regarding the most unexpected outage which can be called Google’s Global Blackout, though we are looking for their statements concerning this. 

According to the dashboard, the problem commenced around 5.25 pm when Gmail stopped working properly. It seems Gmail took a bit longer to return at its normal pace while other services were back. The most affected users were able to access Gmail, they faced other problems like error messages, high latency, or other unexpected behavior. The other services were restored completely without any flaw. 

Screenshot of Gmail 500 server error.

This became a global issue since millions of users were impacted by the breakdown. We know the fan following of Gmail, YouTube is extremely high and the users are active on a monthly basis. This was a global issue, even the Indian users faced the inability to use Google services. Users saw different types of errors like certain users saw 503 errors when they logged in to their Gmail account, and the rest saw 500 errors on their log-in access. People were even dismissed from their Google Meet sessions (video-conferencing tool) whereas others couldn’t join the scheduled calls.   

People responded differently to this problem, they rushed towards the different solutions available, which also included switching over different browsers to seek the difference in the situation. Users even tried to run YouTube and Gmail on Firefox, Safari, MS Edge to make them work, but was in vain. This has even led to the temporary inaccessibility of the apps and smart devices. According to the reports, certain users were reporting that the smart Nest speakers were falling apart to connect to Google servers. This signifies that Gmail, YouTube, and Drive apps on your devices like iPhone, tablets, etc won’t work as long as the outage pertains. Even the games stopped working. 

After a while, Gmail was working again, but if you are logging back, you may see a warning regarding the access to the contacts being temporarily unavailable. YouTube was also affected by the outage, but is back now and can be used on both the mobile and Wi-Fi network.  

Latest update: Google is ensuring its services are back online. This is what it has to say “The problem with Gmail should be resolved for the vast majority of affected users”. They even added that they will continue to work towards the restoration service for the affected users. They even mentioned that no further updates will be provided by the Google Workspace Status Dashboard. System reliability is a top priority at Google and they claim to make continuous improvements to make the system better. This information was present on almost all the devices that faced this trouble.    

The Down detector has shown the number of outages. At present, the graph showed a steep drop in the number of outages which is contrary to the 50,000 outages at the last point on the graph at 6:19 pm. 

One of the strange things observed was that during Google’s Global blackout, they were able to access the landing page of Google’s service in incognito mode. At present, there are no details regarding the reason behind this massive blackout.  

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Vishakha Puniyani
Articles: 46

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