The problem with relying so much on one company for much of our online lives is that once it goes out, we’re all in trouble. This happens to people who rely on Apple’s ecosystem and rely on Google’s large range of services. On Monday, December 14, 2020, most of Google services, including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive, experienced an outage for about an hour.
The Google outage lasted in the United States for about an hour. All of the company’s services were affected, including the major ones, such as YouTube, Gmail, and Google Drive. It was a very unwelcome incident on a Monday morning, interrupting work for many, as well as some schools, with Google Sync for Mobile and Classroom being among the services affected. About the only service that wasn’t affected was Google search.
Later, when the services came back approximately 45 minutes after services were interrupted, Google issued a statement about the outage.
“Today at 3:47 AM PT, Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quote issue,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC. “Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32 AM PT.”
The spokesperson further commented, “All services are now restored. We apologize to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow-up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”
Effect of the Outage on Users
This was a difficult blow on a Monday morning for the many who depend on Google for various online services. They were not able to read their email, watch viral videos, attend their remote learning sessions, access maps to get directions, etc.
The DownDetector outage tracker reported outage issues in the United States, India, Mexico, Finland, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, claims its combined platforms have billions of users throughout the world.
Internet analysis firm Kentik reported the traffic of its online customers showed that YouTube’s traffic dropped 56 percent at one point on Monday.
While Google is reporting the outage to be an authentication issue, Kentik’s director, Doug Madory, noted that user authentication seems to get worse over time rather than experience malfunction suddenly.
“It looks like the pipes to the Internet were up and fine,” he said. “It seems to relate to authentication … but I don’t know if that’s the root cause.”
If you have problems again uploading files or videos to Google Drive, read the linked article to figure out alternative solutions. Avoid the problem altogether by learning how to reclaim your privacy with these privacy-focused alternatives to Google’s Services.