Widespread Google outages rattle users

CNET readers and Twitter users are reporting problems with many Google services, notably search. Google says it fixed the problem and acknowledged responsibility.

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Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
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3 min read

Editor's note: Check CNET News' separate story for details about what caused the outage for Google and others.

Google tweeted at about 10:20 a.m. PDT that its problems are fixed.
Google tweeted at about 10:20 a.m. PDT its problems are fixed. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Many people found Google's search site was extremely slow or inaccessible Thursday, and other reports pointed to troubles with other properties including YouTube, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Docs, AdSense, and Blogger.

Judging by a Twitter search for #googlefail, the problem was international in scope, though it wasn't immediately clear how universal the problems were. Google didn't immediately comment for this story, though it did confirm an earlier Google News outage that lasted about three and a half hours.

Google is central to the online lives--and livelihood--of many, and an outage shows exactly how central it's become--and not just through its primary business, search.

"The Internet dies without Google. Can't get to my bank Web site because it's waiting on 'google-analytics.com.' This is made of lame," said Twitter user Tadiera.

Are you having problems? Tell us what's not working and where you live in the comment section below.

Updated 9:30 a.m. PDT: Many readers are reporting that service is returning to normal, at least on some parts of the East Coast. Please continue to let us know if you are experiencing problems, or how long the outage lasted for you if things have settled down.

Google representatives have still not returned calls and e-mails requesting comment on exactly what happened this morning. The company has confirmed, however, that Gmail suffered what it called "a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users." Google said it hoped to update that status by 10 a.m. PDT.

This is all that a usually instant search for 'Bruins' showed after 10 seconds. Click to enlarge.
This is all that a usually instant search for 'Bruins' showed after 10 seconds. Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Zoe Slocum/CNET

Updated 9:40 a.m. PDT: Google released the following statement: "We're aware some users are having trouble accessing some Google services. We're looking into it, and we'll update everyone soon." Google also sounded the all-clear whistle for Gmail: "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support."

Meanwhile, outages have been reported to us all over the world, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Washington, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, and Malaysia.

Keynote's Internet Health report is showing some interesting data this morning as well. Two network routes involving NTT, a Japanese telecommunications giant, are showing significant packet loss on connections to Qwest and Verizon. We're trying to get more information and an explanation from Keynote representatives.

Updated 9:50 a.m. PDT: Our colleague Larry Dignan over at ZDNet notes this report from Just Ping, backing up other reports of significant packet loss on the Internet today.

A Just Ping report involving Google.com shows packet loss around the world Thursday. Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET
Updated 10:25 a.m. PDT: Google has taken to Twitter--where it is taking an e-beating today--to acknowledge the issue and promise an explanation shortly. "The issue affecting some Google services has been resolved. We're sorry for the inconvenience, and we'll share more details soon."

Updated 12:25 p.m. PDT: Google gave a brief explanation of the problem on its main blog:

Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia. And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too, so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected. That's basically what happened to some of our users today for about an hour, starting at 7:48 am Pacific time.

An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. As a result, about 14% of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions. We've been working hard to make our services ultrafast and "always on," so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again. All planes are back on schedule now.