Tech giant Google on Monday evening suffered a massive global outage on most of its services - Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Drive, Docs - causing inconvenience to hundreds of users. The sheer 'suddenness' and unexpected nature of Google's service disruption baffled many people, causing an uproar on Twitter about how it left them high and dry.
Google, later, came up with an answer and said the outage was experienced due to "an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue."
It added, "Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period... We apologise to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future."
Here's how the Internet reacted:
As soon as netizens realised that the Google services were down, they took to Twitter, Instagram and shared some hilarious jokes. Some blamed 2020, while others made fun of the situation. Even other major corporates and brands -- Zomato, Oreo, Durex, Oyo, Burger King among others -- joined in on the fun and had a quirky reaction for the situation.
even google knows it's time for a chai break- zomato (@zomato) December 14, 2020
I think google listened to my mom say "bandh kar de thhodi der ke liye!"- Pranav Sapra (@pranavsapra) December 14, 2020
Reason behind the crash:
All modern-day devices and services need storage to operate but in an event where there is none available, the system simply stops working. The situation behind the Google services crash was similar to when your computer's hard disk drive runs out of storage and everything running on your system suddenly begins to crash. Most Google services rely on authentication allowing a user to enter Google servers and when the storage indicator tool didn't acquire more space, authentication tools stopped working.
This led to Google services - Gmail, YouTube, Drive, and Calendar - to stop working instantly. Not just Google's own services, the third-party services that use Google's authentication platform also stopped working. However, people who were already logged in weren't affected.
However, if one was trying to access YouTube and some other services in their internet browser's incognito mode, multiple users were able to log into Google services. Google's storage quota issue explains this solution.
Same also explains how people who tried accessing YouTube inside the private window were able to use the signed-out version of the video streaming platform. A signed-out version of a website does not need authentication and continued to work.
The outage also impacted smart devices that need Google Assistant to work. Devices like Nest speakers, smart lights, smart light switches, and security cameras were also disrupted for some time. This caused some people to sit in the dark because the internet-connected services stopped working.