Google Services Including Gmail, YouTube Suffer Major Outage

The outage affected most of Google's services. Functionality was restored to "vast majority" of users about one hour later.


December 14, 2020

2 Min Read
Google data center under construction in Clarksville, Tennessee
Google data center under construction in Clarksville, TennesseeAlphabet/Google/Aerial Innovations

Nate Lanxon (Bloomberg) -- Services from Alphabet Inc.’s Google experienced widespread outages around the world, preventing people from accessing Gmail, YouTube and other products.

Errors ranged from “something went wrong” on YouTube, to “there was an error. Please try again later,” when attempting to log into the company’s mail product from about 6:30 a.m. in New York. Google tools were failing to load for users in the U.S., the U.K. and across Europe, but began functioning again for many people after about an hour.

Google confirmed there was an outage for the majority of its services according to a Workspace Status Dashboard, which monitors the health of its products, but just before 8:00 a.m. it said functionality was restored to the “vast majority” of users.

“We will continue to work toward restoring service for the remaining affected users,” it wrote in a post on its service status page. It hasn’t said what caused the problems.

Outages are not uncommon for any website or provider, with companies including Google as well as Apple Inc., Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others routinely experiencing them due to temporary server disruptions often caused by human error. But Monday’s outage is notable for its pervasiveness across the Alphabet portfolio.

Related:AWS Cloud Outage Hits Customers Including Roku, Adobe

The company’s search product was functioning correctly, and third-party ads -- Google’s main revenue driver -- remained visible in results, suggesting advertising was unaffected.

The website DownDetector, which collates user-reported errors on websites, mobile networks and other platforms, was showing tens of thousands of complaints by 7:00 a.m. in New York, extending to Google’s office tools such as Drive and Meet, Google Maps, and Google’s smart home products such as Nest.

The popular mobile game Pokemon Go was also impacted, reports on DownDetector implied, most likely caused by Google accounts being necessary to log into the game.

In November, Amazon’s cloud-computing division suffered an outage that affected the ability of customers to use roughly two dozen services, hitting streaming hardware maker Roku, software seller Adobe and digital photo service Flickr.

The Google errors on Monday had an additional ramification for consumers who use its Home service to control smart devices, such as house lights -- numerous users complained on Twitter that they’d been plunged into darkness.

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