Google services, including Gmail and Meet, hit by hour-long outage on Sept 25 morning

It is the second time in over a month that Google services were down, after the last incident on Aug 20.
It is the second time in over a month that Google services were down, after the last incident on Aug 20.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Google suffered an hour-long global outage on Friday (Sept 25) morning that affected many of the company's services, including e-mail, calendar, chat and videoconferencing.

The disruption hit users at a time when they needed the tools most to stay productive amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is also the second time in over a month that Google services were down, after the last incident on Aug 20, which had lasted for seven hours.

From around 9am on Friday, many users, including those in Singapore, had trouble sending e-mails via Gmail, while others had to endure lengthy waits to load their inboxes.

Private educator Gwendoline Quek, 38, had issues with Gmail for about 20 minutes, she told The Straits Times.

"My e-mails refused to go out; they kept getting stuck in the outbox. It was very frustrating because I had some urgent messages I needed to send out," she said.

Google confirmed on its status dashboard at 9.30am that it was aware of problems with a number of its services. At 10.07am, the company posted an update to say that all problems should be resolved.

The tech giant added: "We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

Google did not respond to ST's queries on the cause for the outage or if the incident was linked to one in August.

 
 

Following the outage then, the firm had written in an incident report that issues had begun when "an increase in traffic from another Google service started overloading the metadata service".

Mr Urs Holzle, senior vice-president of technical infrastructure at Google, took to Twitter and wrote about Friday's incident: "A pool of servers that route traffic to application backends crashed, and users on that particular pool experienced the outage... We're very sorry for the outage, we know how critical these services are to everyone's lives. We're working on a post-mortem to ensure this won't happen again."

According to a live outage map by third-party Web monitoring company DownDetector, the Google outage affected mostly users across South-east Asia, India, Japan, Australia and the United States.

In Singapore, DownDetector recorded more than 1,200 reports of problems with Gmail on Friday morning, with the majority reporting issues with logging in and receiving messages.

 
 

Mr Loo Wee Teck, global head of consumer electronics at market research firm Euromonitor International, said: “While outages are unavoidable, the issues seemed to be occurring too frequently for Google, which is bad for their reputation.

“Free users do not have other alternatives and will have to put up with the outages, (but) companies will be looking to diversify and hedge its cloud-based services, opening up opportunities for competitors like Microsoft and Zoom.”