More than a dozen Google services such as Gmail and YouTube were offline for roughly an hour on Monday, long enough to close schools, disrupt work and highlight our dependency on the internet amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The global outage occurred for the second time this year, and users speculated on the reason behind the disruption.
As much as people would like to blame the disruption on the year 2020, the reason why Google suffered an outage was an “internal storage quota issue”. The outage was caused by a failure in the company’s authentication tools, a Google spokesperson said, which manage how users log in to services run by both Google and third-party developers. The failure caused tools that do not work without logging in, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, to be unavailable entirely.
Even those who use other services experienced problems. Some workers reliant on Slack, for instance – the Salesforce-owned chat app – could only talk to colleagues who were already logged in at the time of the outage, unless they had set up a username and password on Slack itself.
According to outage monitoring website DownDetector, more than 12,000 YouTube users were affected in various parts of the world, including the United States, Britain, India and Pakistan.