Gmail and Google Drive suffer 4-hour-long outage

The Google disruption first came to light through social media posts at around 10am Singapore time.
The Google disruption first came to light through social media posts at around 10am Singapore time.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Several Google services, including Gmail and Google Drive experienced widespread disruption on Wednesday (March 13), with users complaining that they were unable to access their files or send e-mails with attachments. 

Affected users flocked to social media to complain about the outage at around 10am Singapore time. The first reports came from users in Asia Pacific, though the outage appeared to affect users around the world. 

The outage lasted around four hours. At 2.13pm, Google posted an update to its G Suite dashboard status, which offers information on Google services, that the problems with Gmail and Google Drive had been resolved. 

The tech giant also apologised for the inconvenience and said it will provide a more detailed analysis of the incident after completing an internal investigation. 

Local smart living platform developer Habitap, which has been using G Suite apps for a couple of years, was one of the affected firms. 

Chief executive Franklin Tang told The Straits Times that its 30-odd employees “kept getting bounced out” from their e-mail clients and could not forward their e-mails or download attachments from around 10am. The outage lasted till noon, but Gmail was still very slow after that, he said. 

“As a company, we have been very complacent, thinking that Google will never have downtime. We now realise that when they have a service disruption, we are crippled,” he said. 

“Work basically ground to a halt because I had documents that I needed  to send urgently and there was no way I could send them,” he added.

Google had earlier posted at around 10.53am to say that users were reporting “error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behaviour”.

At around 12.44pm, it posted an update to its Gmail and Google Drive G-Suite status dashboards acknowledging the issue. 

“Users will have issues accessing or attaching files in various products,” it said, adding that the cause was being investigated. 

The disruption affected users of workplace G Suite accounts as well as those using personal Google accounts, though the reason for the outage remained unclear and some users could still access Google Drive. Both Gmail and Google Drive have over a billion users each. 

At its peak, monitoring site Downdetector received more than 1,000 reports from users with difficulties using Gmail and Google Drive, while Outage Report clocked over 6,000 reports from affected users all around the world.

While Google did not confirm if its other services, such as Maps, were also affected, there were reports of glitches with photo uploads as well as error messages appearing in Google’s YouTube video service.