Google Gmail and Drive Global Outage

Published August 21, 2020, 2:28 PM

by Len Amadora

Written by Jun Velasco

If you subscribe to the idea of Google’s global dominance, then the recent outage is one we can consider a disruption of global proportion.   Two of the primary services, Gmail and Google Drive, became inaccessible from users disrupting work and life for many who rely on the service.

Wondering why you cannot log in, attach a file, and perform some other normal email functions on Gmail, it can be attributed to a service outage that occurred about 20 hours ago.  Similarly, users of Google Drive suffer issues from failing to backup and sync correctly.   

There are about 1.8 billion users of Gmail, and for Google Drive, the number also exceeded one billion way back in 2018.  The information is available where else, but in Google web search.   Assuming the outage affected 25% of their user base, the number is easily 450 million users for Gmail and about 250 million for Google Drive.  Though a definite number is not available, we can imagine the effective reach of a minor disruption of their services.

The issues become compounded if you are using your Gmail to access other services within Google or outside services that rely on the email for a confirmation.   And for Google Drive, if you use the service to share files within your organization and outside, then work plainly, stops.  It reinforces the extreme value of both and that these services need to remain problem-free as it can become a global problem of the online kind. 

There is no discounting the value of Google and its services, both free and paid.  A world without Google is unimaginable at this stage.  Its dominance in web search remains unchallenged.   Google will be a part of our online lives for many generations.

However, a question is raised, do we rely on one provider for all our online service needs?  Perhaps in this case, yes, given Google’s services operate in an ecosystem that allows integration making it easier to use.  But as the saying goes, it is best not to put your eggs in one basket, and in this case, that is what I would suggest.  

Google, as reported by TechCrunch, has resolved the issue.   Completely?  We will probably not know given the sheer number of users affected.  It will have to rely on your experience with the services, and if you still have an open case for resolution,  I know I still do.