A so far unexplained Google outage locked users out of their accounts - but is it resolved?

Multiple Google applications have been hit with a widespread outage, leaving users unable to access several services this afternoon (14 Dec).

The outage - which now appears to be resolved - affected several popular services and websites, including Gmail, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Drive and Google Assistant.

Why was Google down?

The widespread outage was reported by service tracker website, DownDetector, which has shown a spike in complaints about Google services not working, from around 11am in the UK.

It appears to have affected Google’s business and personal services, with problems with Gmail thought to have started from around 6.40am ET.

Google's own workspace status dashboard showed all services as working normally during the outage.

A message stating “the server encountered an error” appeared when attempting to access Google Docs, while many users took to Twitter to report problems with Gmail.

One shared a screenshot of a message which read, “502. That’s an error. The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.

“Please try again in 30 seconds. That’s all we know.”

#YouTubeDOWN

The hashtag #YouTubeDOWN has been trending on Twitter this afternoon, as reports flooded in from users unable to access the video service.

Companies that rely on Google Workspace have also been affected, with users reporting that smart home gadgets integrated with Google Assistant were experiencing issues.

What caused the outage?

As yet, it remains unclear as to what caused the problem, but the outage appears to have occurred worldwide. DownDectector’s outage reports show the issue has impacted users across the globe, with services in the UK, US, Netherlands and Japan among those affected.

Between around 11am and 12pm, there was a spike in problems, with almost 33,500 issues with Google’s websites reported.

A total of 92 per cent of these problems are related to login issues, while around seven per cent is related to online searches.

Are services working yet?

Google services are starting to come back online, including YouTube, Gmail and Google Drive.

However, Google Workspace Status Dashboard is still showing the majority of services as offline, so it may take a while for all applications to return to normal.

In an updated statement just over an hour after the first report of the incident, Google said its apps and services had widely come back online and added that it would “continue to work towards restoring service for the remaining affected users”, but no further updates would be provided via its service status website.

The technology giant did not disclose what had caused the problem.

Google said: “Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman.