Global blackout affected Google services including YouTube and Gmail

From Gmail to Calendar via YouTube and Google Drive, Google services could not be reached for a few hours on Monday, December 14th. Account authentication servers appear to be the cause of the outage.

Global blackout affected Google services
Google Office

Update 13:35: It looks like Google services are starting to appear after an interruption of about 40 minutes. It remains slow to use, but connection to major services appears to be possible. Google has yet to communicate about outages, but Numerama's key mention pointing to authentication servers seems plausible. However, the Google Workplace Twitter account announced that everything is back to normal, without further explanation.

We found that while some services were online, others, such as Gmail in G Suite, were still inaccessible.

Original article: On December 14, 2020, around 12:56 pm, several reports appeared on the French web about Google. Numerama's editorial team was able to confirm that nearly half of its employees had no access to Gmail, Calendar, Drive and YouTube. The error "500" that the browser displays shows that this time it is not a DNS problem: Changing your DNS will not restore Google services. Additionally, when the user attempts to log into Google, the account is described as "not found" through the interface.

So, the likely mistake is the failure that comes from Google's authentication systems. Mathieu Menut, the lead developer of Numerama, noted that all services were available to users who were not logged in (it is possible to go to YouTube in private browsing, for example).

But Google has not yet announced the reasons for the outage. The site reporting the status of Google services has been in good shape for a long time, before all services passed in red.

Popular sharing website Down Detector also noted that all Google services have been flagged as inaccessible, at least enough to have them top the report headlines in the last minutes. Professional editions of Google tools are equally affected: G Suite, Google's web-based software and business office suite, don't work as well.

Users reported that home automation and connected home services are also affected (Nest, Nest Hub, etc.). This is because they need to be logged into a Google account to work.

International Collapse

At around 1:05 PM, the US media reported The Verge, reporting after Numerama that Google services could not be accessed outside France. So it's not a local issue - as it is in France, on top of that, the page showing if Google has fallen looks good in the rest of the world, which makes understanding the problem more complicated than usual - our assumption on authentication servers is quite correct.

For its part, Google's search engine remains available, even if, according to our observations, it is idle.

After being contacted by the editorial staff, Google has not provided any information yet, but it promises to keep us informed.

Liste of  broken services 

  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • Google Drive
  • G Suite (au complet)
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Agenda
  • Google Play Store
  • Google Stadia

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