Huge Google outage today takes Gmail, YouTube, Classroom and more offline

A huge Google outage took services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, and more offline today, leaving users unable to access their email and remote students facing the possibility of a virtual snow-day. Sadly for those being home-schooled – and happily for everyone else – the outage lasted for around an hour before services began to light back up again.

It's a sign both of how unusual service disruptions of this scale are for online behemoths like Google, and how reliant we are in many ways on their products. While some services were functional, support for actually signing into a Google account on them was not, limiting their usefulness.

The outage proved to be a widespread one. Google's workspace status dashboard shows the current functionality of its various products, from the familiar like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive, through to more nice products like Vault, Voice, and Groups. Everything – including Google Maps, the admin console, and Google Classroom – was offline.

Issues were first reported on the status page from before 7AM ET today. "We're aware of a problem," Google said of its products, promising updates as it worked on the downtime.

Gmail was restored fully at 8:56AM, Google said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," the company posted. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

Given the trajectory of 2020, and the number of students currently studying at home rather than at in-person classrooms, the Google Classroom outage proved particularly ominous. "The problem with Classroom should be resolved for the vast majority of affected users," Google said at 7:52AM ET. "We will continue to work towards restoring service for the remaining affected users," it promised.

It's unclear what, exactly, prompted the downtime, and Google is yet to give a comprehensive explanation. It's not the first time this year that the company's systems have struggled, however. Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Classroom, and other products experienced an outage back in January, while the company's Nest platform went offline for several hours the following month.