Gmail Outage Follows Google Docs Glitch
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More cracks have appeared in Google's cloud infrastructure, though the search giant has moved quickly to limit the fallout.
Over the weekend, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) admitted a bug in its online Google Docs services affected a "a small percentage of users" and quickly fixed the problem. Today, the company acknowledged that an unspecified, "small" segment of its Gmail users experienced a service disruption for about half an hour yesterday.
Google said the Google Docs bug caused a small percentage of users to inadvertently share some documents. The sharing had been limited to people with whom the account owner, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document, the company said.
We have extensive safeguards in place to protect all documents, and are confident this was an isolated incident," the company added. "The issue occurred if the document owner, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents or presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions"
In its official Google Docs Blog, product manager Jennifer Mazzon said the bug also affected some Google staffers.
"We're sorry for the trouble this has caused," she said. "We're treating this very seriously."
Gmail goes dark briefly for some
As for the Gmail outage, Google was quick to draw a distinction between this latest incident and one from last month that blocked millions of Gmail users from accessing the service for about two and a half hours.
Google said yesterday's incident, which began at 2 AM Pacific Time, lasted only about a half an hour. More significantly, it affected only a relatively "small number" of users, Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs told InternetNews.com.
"There was a minor issue with Gmail that we resolved for the vast majority of users in about 30 minutes," he said. "A small number still had trouble for a while, but all of those issues have been resolved."
In the wake of last month's disruption, Google launched an online App Status Dashboard that lists the current status or availability of Google's various online applications. For many Google-watchers, the dashboard brought the most recent problem to light, though it might have otherwise escaped scrutiny or press coverage since few had been affected.
"One of the outcomes of having the App Status Dashboard is that any issue of any size will be posted so we can be transparent," Kovacs said. "So even a minor issue affecting a small number of users will appear and some people will consider it a big deal."
He said he didn't have an exact figure or range of how many Gmail users were impacted by the problem.
Google has in recent months taken steps to mitigate the impact of downtime in its hosted applications. For instance, last month the company added offline access features to Gmail so that when online access isn't available, users can at least continue to use the application and view e-mails locally.
But the two e-mail service outages and Google Docs snafu come on the heels of another technical glitch. Last month, a mistake by a Google engineer led to the world's largest search engine briefly flagging every Web site as potentially containing malware.