Google Services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and others all went down just before 7 A.M. Eastern time in the U.S. Google Maps, Nest, Calendar, Classroom, Meet, Stadia and Duo were also affected. The outage lasted for more than an hour. So most people between Chicago and Tokyo probably didn’t even notice but the rest of the world sure did.
Some places are still reporting that some of the restored Google services are responding slowly.
Wow! It is not surprising that such an outage can literally cause a global shutdown. Not surprising, but scary nonetheless. Imagine if the shutdown had lasted all day. People don’t realize just how important Gmail is. Countless e mail addresses with a person or company’s name in them are actually G Mail accounts. There are an estimated 1.5 billion different Gmail accounts in existence.
Now think about all of the people who rely on Google Docs, where their files are kept on line in a cloud and not saved to their computers. Such a shutdown is not just an inconvenience to people doing Google searches or who want to watch something on YouTube. It is nothing short of paralyzing for world commerce. That is how important Google has become to the world’s economies.
This comes at a time when the world is fighting against all manner of hacks coming from Iran and other nations in the form of ransomware and other virus which cause such shutdowns. Israel’s cybersecurity firm Check Point recently proved that the Iranian government was behind the Pay2Key Ransomware.
This must have been what was going through just about everyone’s mind around the world when Google services crashed. Fortunately we can breathe easily. Google says that the problem was caused by what it described as an internal storage quota issue
Google issued a statement saying, “Today, at 3.47AM PT (Pacific Time) Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue. Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32AM PT. All services are now restored. We apologize to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”
So what can be done to prevent this from happening again? Too many people rely on Google. While we can all live without YouTube, Google Hangouts and basic Google searches for an extended period, the same cannot be said of Google Docs, Google Drive and even Gmail. Google has become as important as a public utility and such a shutdown is no different than a blackout.
So what should be done? Maybe it is not a good idea for one company to have so much control over commerce. If it does then surely Google should be required to separate the infrastructure for its different services so that no one glitch or whatever happened today would cause all of its services to go down at the same time.
Or maybe Google really should be broken up into smaller companies.