Gmail Outage Hits Up To 212 Million Users

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Google has restored service to Gmail after an outage of several hours, affecting nearly one-third of all Gmail messages

Google said it has restored its Gmail email service to normal operation, following an outage that saw nearly one-third of all Gmail messages delayed for a period of several hours beginning on Monday afternoon.

The search company also said it had resolved an unspecified “issue” that affected Google Documents and Google Presentations for a period of about six hours.

Widespread disruption

The issue affected up to 212 million users and lasted for around nine hours, making it one of the most significant Gmail outages to date. The problem caused delays to message delivery and problems downloading attachments, according to Gmail users, and confirmed by Google.

The Gmail outage lasted from around 2pm to 11:30pm BST, according to Google. The company didn’t specify what had caused the Gmail problem, only apologising for the glitch and analysing its effect.

Google Gmail featured“Between 0554 and 1530 Pacific Time today, 29.1 percent of messages received by Gmail users were delayed,” Google said in a statement on the Gmail status page. “The average (median) delay was just 2.6 seconds, but some mail was more severely delayed. However, this issue did not affect users’ access to the Gmail page or other functionality.”

Elsewhere Google said the delays affected “less than 50 percent” of Gmail users. The company has said Gmail has around 425 million users, meaning the problem could have affected up to 212 million users. By comparison, a Gmail failure in June of 2012 affected around 800,000 users, while an April 2012 glitch hit five million users.

Resolution

As of 8 p.m. BST Google said service had been restored for “some users” of Google Docs, Google Presentations and Gmail. The company said the problem had been “resolved” for Google Docs and Google Presentations as of 9 p.m. BST, but Gmail users continued to experience problems while a backlogue of messages was delivered. Google said Gmail was “functioning normally” as of midnight BST.

“We apologise for the duration of today’s event; we’re aware that prompt email delivery is an important part of the Gmail experience, and today’s experience fell far short of our standards,” Google said in a status message marked 3 a.m. BST on Tuesday morning.

Gmail’s last significant outage was a two-hour incident in December of last year.

For more immediate results, Gmail users shifted to Twitter to communicate. “I’m receiving emails from five hours ago,” wrote one user. “The guy on duty at the NSA today must be a slow reader or something.”

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