Google services suffer global outage, Singapore News

Google suffered a seven-hour global outage yesterday that affected many of its services, including e-mail, storage, documents and videoconferencing.

The disruption hit users at a time when they needed the tools most to stay productive amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many users, including those in Singapore, could not log in to their Gmail accounts while some could not send or receive attachments.

Others could not create files in their Google Drive, post messages via Google Chat or record Meet videoconferencing sessions.

According to third-party Web monitoring company DownDetector, problems with Google services were first reported around noon yesterday.

DownDetector also recorded reports from around 10,000 affected users here, with the majority reporting problems logging in to their Gmail accounts and sending and receiving e-mail attachments.

A live outage world map by the same company showed that issues were mostly reported in Japan, India, parts of the United States, Europe and South-east Asian countries, including Singapore.

Ms Diana Low, an account director with local creative agency Splash Productions, said that she could not send attachments with her e-mails on Gmail from 2pm yesterday.

“The e-mail text goes through, but the attachments don’t. My colleagues all experienced the same thing,” she said.

Google confirmed on its website at 1.29pm yesterday that it was investigating an issue with Gmail.

At 3.21pm, the company updated that advisory, saying that it was investigating issues with Gmail sending, Meet recording, and creating files in Drive, among other things.​

  • 10k Approximate number of reports from affected users in Singapore, according to DownDetector.
  • 21% Proportion of users who had log-in problems
  • 17% Proportion who had issues with receiving messages

At about 7pm, Google reported that services were restored. A check on the status dashboard of its services on the company website also showed that all were functioning normally by then.

Apologising for the inconvenience caused, Google said on its website: “System reliability is a top priority at Google. We are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

The tech giant did not respond by press time to questions about the cause of the disruption and its redundancy plans.

Mr Loo Wee Teck, global head of consumer electronics at market research firm Euromonitor International, said: “The outage serves as a timely reminder to companies not to rely on one company – even if it saves them money – for their digital services needs, but to mitigate the risk of one failing by going with a few companies or platforms.”

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