Google services including Gmail, were hit with major outages globally today with tens of thousands of frustrated users unable to log on, upload files or send emails.
Outage tracker site Down Detector said the problems began around 6am BST with widespread disruption reported on Gmail, Google Drive, Google Chat, Google Docs and Google Meet.
The outages were believed to be concentrated in the UK, Greece, Spain, Germany, France, Japan, and Malaysia.
Google has since said its services should be working normally again but has not yet commented on the cause of the outage.
“We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support,” the company said.
“System reliability is a top priority at Google. We are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”
Two fifths of the reported issues involved users being unable to send attachments with a further 29pc reporting problems with logging in. Fifteen per cent said they were unable to receive messages.
For Google Drive, the main issue was with file syncing, making up 68 per cent of all reported problems. Others reported problems posting messages on Google Chat and recording on Google Meet.
One user tweeted that it was the “first time in 16 years” that they could remember Google’s email service being down.
“Never imagined I’d see the day where Google servers go down, 2020 is really making history,” another user wrote.
Gmail, which is the world’s biggest email service, boasts around 1.8 billion. Its GSuite services have grown in popularity during lockdown with thousands of businesses signing up as employees increasingly work from home.
Google said it had seen the use of Meet grow by around 30 times since the start of the year.
“We are already serving more than two billion minutes per day of video conferencing, for perspective that’s 38,000 years of video calls,” said Javier Soltero, Google’s Head of G Suite, told the Telegraph earlier this year.
Outages while more people are working remotely than ever before will be problematic for Google, which has developed momentum in the corporate services sector.
Google’s paid-for G Suite offering is in direct competition with incumbent Microsoft’s 365 service.
The tech giant’s productivity bundle reached over 6 million paying customers in March, up from 5 million a year earlier. Customers in this case are businesses that are typically paying for multiple licenses.
Cybersecurity expert at Eset Jake Moore said that it was “difficult to speculate” what had occurred with Google’s services but that it did have an “air of illicit mystery over it”.
“With so many services out of action and no word as to what it could be, it is possible it could be more unlawful,” he said.
“As we all learn from mistakes, it does elevate a concern as to why this outage was not able to withstand such a force to knock it over and affect so many end users. Without understanding the true reasons and prior steps which led to this misfortunate event, it may be difficult to point the finger yet.”