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Google Cloud services outage hits Gmail users across Europe

Several key parts of Google’s cloud-based productivity suite of products are experiencing technical difficulties, with users across Europe reporting issues

Google’s suite of cloud-based productivity services are experiencing technical difficulties, with users across Europe known to be experiencing issues with sending emails and uploading attachments.

The search giant first acknowledged the service disruption at 6.29am on Thursday 20 August 2020 on the Gmail service status page, before following this up nearly two hours later with assurances that the matter was being investigated.

The update also confirmed the technical difficulties the company is experiencing are not just limited to its Gmail service, but are also causing problems in other parts of its cloud-based productivity portfolio.

As well as issues with sending emails, the company said users of its video conferencing service, Meet, are also having recording issues, while users of its cloud storage offering, Drive, have experienced trouble when trying to create new files.

Furthermore, there are also upload issues with comma-separated value (CSV) files within the Google Admin console, as well as additional usability issues occurring in its Google Chat instant messaging service, and its cloud-based note-taking service, Google Keep.

“We are continuing to investigate this issue,” said an earlier post on the Google service status page. “We will provide an update [later] detailing when we expect to resolve the problem.”

A follow-up post at around 11am said the company had started making progress with restoring service to Gmail users, but there was no further information on the state of play at that time for the other affected Google services. “Gmail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this timeframe is an estimate and may change,” said the service status page. 

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According to a data gleaned from outage-tracking website Downdetector, problems are currently being reported with Google’s services predominantly by users across Europe, Japan and Malaysia. This means the issues started in Europe around the same time that many users, who rely on Google’s productivity service for work, started their working day.

Computer Weekly contacted the Google Cloud team for further comment on the outage but has not received a response at the time of publication.

News of the outage comes hot on the heels of research from datacentre resiliency think tank The Uptime Institute, which showed datacentre downtime incidents are continuing to occur with “disturbing frequency”, and that larger outages are becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to bounce back from due to the growing complexity of datacentre systems.

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