On Friday, a glitch occurred with Google and its email service, Gmail and caused an outage. Sources stated other Google applications were also affected such as Google Drive, Calendar and Voice. Google later apologized for the glitch, stating it was a software bug in the outage. The software bug affected 10 percent of its users for less than an hour.
Users who tried to access Gmail around 11:15 A.M. PST received an error message at the top of their page, stating the users Gmail account were temporarily unavailable and suggested trying again in a few minutes. By 12:23 P.M. PST Google stated the problem had been fixed, and the system is restored. However, Gmail referred users to the Google Apps Status Page, which confirmed the outage at 11:12 A.M. PST. Another message displayed on the user’s screen stating Google is currently investigating reports of issues with Gmail and will provide more information shortly.
Although Google didn’t confirm issues with other Google applications such as Documents, users still received error messages when attempting to access their documents. Google Drive worked for a short while, but then file names suddenly disappeared, and images failed to load even after refreshing the Internet browser. Sources say YouTube operated normally. At the time, it was unknown how many Google users were affected by the glitch that caused an outage. However, this is not the first time Google has experienced an outage due to a software glitch.
Google’s Gmail experienced multiple outages in 2009, which forced Google to takedown the Webmail at least eight times within nine months. In April 2012, another Gmail outage happened again, affecting approximately 30 million separate accounts.
On Friday evening, Google issued an apology to the public in a blog post. Ben Treynor, Google’s vice president stated whether it was a few minutes or a few hours to please accept their apologies. They also added they strive to make Google services available and fast to users; however, they failed to deliver what the users expect. Treynor also describes in the blog post why the outage happened. At 10:55 A.M. PST an internal system that configures information to tell other systems how to behave encountered a software bug and generated incorrect configuration. The incorrect configuration was then sent to live services over the next 15 minutes, causing users’ request for their information to be ignored. In turn, those services generated errors. According to Treyor, a correct configuration was pushed at 11:30 A.M. PST. The vice president also stated additional targeting monitoring will be in place to prevent an outage from happening again.
Another incident happened on Friday that was unrelated to the Google glitch that caused a temporary outage. Reports state a Hotmail user by the name of David S. Peck suddenly received thousands of emails. Peck stated he received about 500 emails every hour, and he could not stop them. The deluge was so extreme that Peck was missing his important emails because he couldn’t delete the unwanted emails fast enough. Google issued a statement acknowledging an outage occurred due to a glitch, some email addresses on public webpages appeared very distinctly in search results.
By Bridget Cunningham