After massive outage, Google, YouTube gaining back remote learning, business functions

Nate Lanxon
Bloomberg

Services from Alphabet Inc. are returning some functions after experiencing widespread outages around the world, preventing people from accessing Gmail, YouTube and other products.

Those included Google Classroom, which means the outages affected the ability of schools in Michigan to hold remote learning.

As one Twitter user in Ohio wrote, "Is Google Classroom being down the new snow day?"

Lincoln Park Public Schools, in the downriver area of Wayne County, wasn't quite ready to go that far.

While announcing that the Google outage "affects our ability to hold virtual classes today" and that, "for the time being, students and teachers will not be able to hold classes per their schedule," it didn't call off the day just yet.

"Once we receive word that Google is back up, we will send another message and communicate this out appropriately," the school system wrote on Twitter. 

At 7:30 a.m., Google announced that most Google Classroom users should be up and working, and that everyone would be soon.

Just before 7:50 a.m., Steve Matthews, superintendent of Novi schools, said some function was returning. 

West Bloomfield schools were similarly eager to get on with the school day

Errors ranged from “something went wrong” on YouTube, to “there was an error. Please Try again later. That’s all we know,” when attempting to login to the company’s mail product. Google products were failing to load for users in New York, the U.K. and across Europe.

Google confirmed there is a service outage for the majority of its services according to a Workspace Status Dashboard, which monitors the health of its products.

Outages are not uncommon for any website or provider, with companies including Google as well as Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others routinely experiencing them due to temporary server errors often caused by human error. But Monday’s outage is notable for its pervasiveness across the Alphabet portfolio.

The company’s search product was functioning correctly, and third-party ads – Google’s main revenue driver – remained visible in results, suggesting advertising was unaffected.

The website DownDetector, which collates user-reported errors on websites, mobile networks and other platforms, was showing tens of thousands of complaints around 07:00 a.m. in New York, extending to Google’s office tools such as Drive and Meet, Google Maps, and Google’s smart home products such as Nest.

The popular mobile game Pokemon Go was also impacted, reports on DownDetector implied, most likely caused by Google accounts being necessary to login to the game.

In November, Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing division suffered an outage that affected the ability of customers to use roughly two dozen services, hitting streaming hardware maker Roku, software seller Adobe and digital photo service Flickr.