Google suffered a seven-hour global outage on Thursday (August 20) that affected many of its services, including e-mail, storage, document and videoconferencing.
The disruption hit users at a time when they needed the tools most to stay productive amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many users including those in Singapore could not log into their Gmail accounts while some could not send or receive attachments. Others could not create files in their Google Drive, post messages via Google Chat and record Meet videoconferencing sessions.
According to third-party Web monitoring company DownDetector, problems with Google services were first reported at around noon around the world on Thursday. A live outage world map by the same firm showed that issues were mostly reported in Japan, India, parts of the United States, Europe and South-east Asian countries including Singapore.
DownDetector also recorded reports from around 10,000 affected users in Singapore on Thursday. The majority here faced problems with attaching documents, while 21 per cent of users had log-in problems, and 17 per cent had issues with receiving emails.
Ms Diana Low, an account director with local creative agency Splash Productions, said that she could not send attachments with her e-mails on Gmail from 2pm on Thursday (Aug 20). “The email text goes through, but the attachments don’t. My colleagues are all experiencing the same thing,” she said.
Google confirmed on its website at 1.29pm that it was investigating the problems. At around 7pm, the tech giant reported that services were restored.
Apologising for the inconvenience caused, Google said on its website: “System reliability is a top priority at Google. We are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”
The tech giant has not responded to questions about the cause of the disruption and its redundancy plans.
Mr Loo Wee Teck, global head of consumer electronics at market research firm Euromonitor International, said: “The outage serves as a timely reminder to companies not to rely on one company – even if it saves them money – for their digital services needs, but mitigate their risks by going with a few companies or platforms.”