Google Explains Why Gmail Went Down for Half an Hour

Google's team proved technical issues can be fixed in a timely manner

By Gabriela Vatu on January 25th, 2014 10:05 GMT

Gmail went down yesterday for less than half an hour and the reactions were immediate. Users in the United States, Europe, Canada and other parts of the world were affected by the issue.

According to Google’s App Status dashboard, the service had immediately been restored for most of its users, although it may have taken a bit longer until everyone got their emails back.

The company wrote a blog post, explaining the issue. “Earlier today, most Google users who use logged-in services like Gmail, Google+, Calendar and Documents found they were unable to access those services for approximately 25 minutes. For about 10 percent of users, the problem persisted for as much as 30 minutes longer,” the post reads.

According to Bon Treynor, VP of engineering at Google, an internal system that generates configurations (information that tells other systems how to behave) encountered a software bug and generated an incorrect configuration.

This was, in turn, sent to live services which caused users’ requests for their data to be ignored and the services to generate errors.

Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Sites, Google Groups, and Google Hangouts were affected by the issue.

The issue was corrected by the company quite fast and the right configuration was live for most users in less than half an hour after the first issues were reported.

Although Google’s services aren’t strangers to up-time issues, they’re all quite rare and usually, if anything happens, the problems are fixed in a timely manner.

By contrast, last year, when Yahoo mail went down, the company didn't inform anyone of the problems it was having with the Mail servers, despite users reporting prolonged down times of up to several weeks. This has pushed many to stop using Yahoo Mail altogether.
Google encounters some issues, restore Gmail service to users
   Google encounters some issues, restore Gmail service to users
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