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Gmail and YouTube hit with massive outage that sent the internet into a panic

Updated Mar 13th, 2019 8:30AM EDT
Gmail Google Drive Outage
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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What’s the first thing you do when any popular service you rely on goes down? Why you panic and take to social media to warn everyone that the end is nigh, of course! Beginning around 10:00 PM EST on Tuesday night, users around the world began to notice that something wasn’t right with several Google services on which they’ve come to rely. The first reports suggested something was amiss with Gmail, and the volume of those reports increased exponentially. Yes, Gmail was indeed down… but things didn’t stop there. Google Drive would quickly follow, with users unable to connect and access their files.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, YouTube soon began having issues as well. A Google Drive outage is annoying and a Gmail outage is obviously even worst. YouTube was the last straw, however, and users poured into social media services like Facebook and Twitter to vent over the fact that they watch their favorite creators.

Popular website status tracking site Down Detector shows that outage reports for both Gmail and YouTube began hitting the web around 10:00 PM last night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just a tiny hiccup.

Google confirmed on its G Suite Status Dashboard site that displays performance information for a wide range of Google services that Gmail and Google Drive indeed went offline overnight. The site stated that users were seeing “error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.” The company’s Google Cloud Status Dashboard also confirmed the outages.

“We are still seeing the increased error rate with Google App Engine Blobstore API. Our Engineering Team is investigating possible causes,” Google said in a statement on its Cloud Status Dashboard. “Mitigation work is currently underway by our Engineering Team. We will provide another status update by Tuesday, 2019-03-12 20:45 US/Pacific with current details.”

Thankfully, the Gmail and Google Drive outage didn’t last very long and services began coming back online after approximately two hours. The YouTube outage lasted considerably longer, with outages still being reported several hours after the site initially went offline. The good news, however, is that service now appears to have been restored across the board. That means many people will wake up on Wednesday morning and be none the wiser. They’ll be able to access their email and Google Drive files like nothing ever happened. Much more importantly, of course, they’ll be able to watch the latest very important and not at all mind-numbingly stupid episode of Pew News.

Oh, and did we mention the bittersweet irony in all this? Google’s sites and services rarely go down. In fact, this was the largest and most widespread outage in a long, long time. What’s so ironic? Well, it just so happened to take place on the 30th birthday of the Internet. If there’s a better way to celebrate than by reminding people what life is like without their precious web-based services, we’re not sure what it is.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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