Few people know what Google App Engine is, but just like any other thing you depend on but don't even know it exists, everyone noticed when it was gone. An outage at Google's venerable cloud platform took down several major internet services including Dropbox and Tumblr, both of which rely on the Google service.App Engine is back online and everything is back in order, but the outage underlines a couple of things. Either Google's App Engine is really reliable, since nothing like this has ever happened, at this scale.
Or few companies actually use App Engine, so any problem is bound to go unnoticed. It's probably a mixture of the two, but people do notice when Tumblr goes down so Apps probably has a good record.
Still, this once again underlines the problem with cloud services, when they go down they take down a lot of sites with them. Amazon Web Services outages, which are rare, affect plenty of sites and can't really go unnoticed.
"Google App Engine has now been restored and users should see service returning to normal. Our team is still continuing to investigate and determine the root cause of the issue," Google explained.
"We know that many of our customers rely on App Engine for their mission critical applications. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this outage and we appreciate our customers’ patience," it said.
As you can see, there's no official explanation for the outage just yet, but you can expect a thorough analysis to be published online as soon as the investigation is over.
"At approximately 7:30am Pacific time this morning, Google began experiencing slow performance and dropped connections from one of the components of App Engine. The symptoms that service users would experience include slow response and an inability to connect to services," Google described the problem initially.