Gmail and Google Chrome users experienced several outages this past week, and now Google has explained the 40-minute disruption of service for its popular web platform and internet browser.
While some analysts originally speculated that Google was under a denial-of-service (DdoS) attack, Google engineer Tim Steele painted a very different picture in a post on Google’s developer forums.
Tim Steele explains what developers suspected the entire time, the disruption of service was caused by a code change that overwhelmed Google’s services, causing them to shut down for a short period of time.
According to Steele:
“It’s due to a backend service that sync servers depend on becoming overwhelmed, and sync servers responding to that by telling all clients to throttle all data types.”
As “throttling” occurred, users’ browsers crashed and eventually came back online as Google fixed the server side issue. Since Google Sync keeps bookmarks in place across Chrome, Gmail, and other Google apps, the issue led to multiple service outages across Google’s various platforms including Google Docs, Drive, and Apps.
The Google outage was witnessed all around the world and led to Twitter outcry from users who could not conduct business without access to their Google Gmail accounts.
Integrated services continue to become essential for a businesses online success; unfortunately, the same integrated connectivity that has pleased users had led to major complications. As we have learned from the Google Gmail outage and subsequent loss of Chrome and other services, if we rely on one service for all of our apps, we could be left with no chance at being productive if the services backbone fails to perform.