On Friday, the sky had figuratively “fallen” as millions of users encountered a dreaded error message and were unable to access their Google Gmail account. As engineers dashed to the rescue behind Google’s walls, many wondered how could this happen to such an infallible company. Others handled the outage with grace and moved on for the day. Later, it was Ben Traynor, the VP of Engineering who advised a software bug developed an incorrect configuration. Hence the outage occurred. While Google was appeasing 42 million customers, Yahoo decided to share the outage on their Twitter account. Four times. The tacky tweets earned distaste and eventually Yahoo apologized.
The explanation of a software bug leading to misdirects have some brows raised among the technology community. While it can be listed as erroneous or insufficient logic, many are wondering if Gmail may had been the target of a hack-attack. Google has offered no expanded details and has not offered a confirmation basis if there was any attack. Instead, the company states the outage eventually corrected itself when a correct configuration generated. The company then promised to review their response time and reactions for future outages. Crashes and outages are just part of handling any system, especially one as excessively expansive as Gmail.
Stepping into the arena with a side-dish of tacky, Yahoo decided to do something that was well – throwing rocks from a glass house to a glass house. The under-performing Y! took to their Twitter account four times to deliver updates with a screenshot of the “Temporary Error (500)” messages received by Gmail users. More notably, the four tweets were executed consecutively outlining the Gmail outage. Since then, Yahoo has delivered an egg in face tweet, by apologizing to Google and the “@Gmail team.” Yahoo should empathize, their own email service continues to suffer lags, misdirects and more. Yahoo has not expanded if a software bug is their malady – but it seems Gmail was, as Yahoo users threatened to move over to Google’s email platform when Yahoo suffered consecutive outages in December.
Google reported all services should be back to running normally since the outage. In addition to clearing the air on the configuration issue, Google issued apologies to users who may had been the victim of numerous emails. Tech Crunch reported David S. Peck, a Hotmail email user, received over a thousand blank emails. The reason? It appears a glitch occurred within the Google search once someone searched “gmail.” In a sub-link titled “Email,” users clicked it to automatically open a new message window. The “to:” box was already filled in with Peck’s email address.
MarketWatch stated Google’ spokesman advised him it was due in part to a technical glitch and the issue has been rectified. In addition, Google extends their apologies to all users who may had been affected, especially Peck who had a mess to clean in his email account. Just about 42 million access their Gmail accounts and the list of use continues to rise. Depending on the Gmail database shows just how dangerous loss of information could be with just one crash or one misconfigured embedded outage.
Users should always back up important information, in a cloud or on something a bit more physical, such as either on an external drive or CD. More and more information is becoming digital and sometimes, consumers may be unaware of the complete damage or loss of information that may happen from a crash. It is best to seek and determine the best backup methods for personal information.
Google’s Gmail may had suffered a temporary outage, but it caused millions to speculate on backup outlets. As Google expertly handled inquires, Yahoo decided on a bad marketing technique by delivering four consecutive tweets regarding the Gmail outage. This was a lesson learned by those affected – including Yahoo, who later issued an apology tweet. The information age is embedded in everything consumers do, how the information is handled is not only the responsibility of the company handling it, but also of the user.