Gmail, other Google services hit by outage on Friday

The problem was widespread, affecting most users of the affected applications

An apparently broad outage rocked Gmail and a raft of other Google Web applications Friday afternoon, leading many affected users to flood Twitter, other social media sites and discussion forums with complaints.

A broad outage rocked Gmail and a raft of other Google Web applications Friday afternoon, leading many affected users to flood Twitter, other social media sites and discussion forums with complaints.

Google acknowledged the Gmail problem at around 2:10 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on its Apps Status site, and declared it solved at around 3:20 p.m.

The company later reported on the Apps Status at around 3 p.m. that more than 10 other services were also having problems, including Calendar, Talk, Drive, Docs, Sites, Groups, Voice and Google+ Hangouts.

The outages of most of those applications were declared fixed by 3:25 p.m., with the exception of Google+ Hangouts, which was cleared at around 3:50 p.m.

Later on Friday, Google published a blog post detailing the scope and causes of the outages. For 25 minutes, "most" users of these services were unable to access them, meaning that the outages affected hundreds of millions of people. The outages lasted about an hour for 10 percent of the affected users, according to Google.

"Whether the effect was brief or lasted the better part of an hour, please accept our apologies -- we strive to make all of Google's services available and fast for you, all the time, and we missed the mark today," wrote Ben Treynor, a Google vice president of engineering and the post's author.

Google is now focused on correcting the bug and adding "checks and monitors" to prevent this incident from recurring, he added.

The outage was triggered by a software bug in a Google system that controls the operations of other systems. The malfunctioning system sent an incorrect configuration to the systems it controls at around 1:55 p.m., according to Treynor.

"Interesting watching my Twitter feed explode with people frustrated that their Gmail is down. Guess we're still a way from email's demise," wrote Forrester Research analyst TJ Keitt on his Twitter account.

Gmail is used both by individuals for personal communications and by businesses for their employees as part of the Google Apps email and collaboration suite.

Meanwhile, TechCrunch reported the bizarre situation of a man who since last night has been receiving a deluge of emails because of a link that appears when people search for "Gmail" on Google.

Such a search query delivers as its first result -- as expected -- a link for Gmail, but a sub-link that appears below it, labeled "Email" triggers, when clicked upon, a Gmail message interface already addressed to the man's Hotmail account.

The man, David Peck, told TechCrunch that the issue started on Thursday evening.

A Google spokesman said via email that this issue wasn't related to Friday's outages. "Due to a technical glitch, some email addresses on public webpages appeared too prominently in search results. We've fixed the issue and are sorry for any inconvenience caused," he wrote.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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