Google suffered a massive outage early this morning affecting several of its services — leaving YouTube down for hours.
Other affected services included Gmail, Google Assistant, and Google Drive. All of the services were down for around an hour in the early hours of Monday morning. Google acknowledged the issues affecting Gmail at 6:55 AM ET in a tweet. The hashtag #YouTubeDOWN began trending on Twitter shortly after the outage was reported.
The status page for Google’s services was completely red in the early hours of the morning. The outage severely impacts artists that rely on YouTube videos as their primary source of income. But it’s not just artists who were affected by these outages — anyone who uses Google Drive to store files or Gmail to communicate also experienced problems.
So why was YouTube down for hours this morning?
Some users found that the problem appeared to be exclusive to logged in users. Popping the browser into incognito mode and not signing in showcased the site just fine. That also explains why services that require a user to be logged in (stored files, watching subscriptions) were down. Smart home gadgets that use Google Assistant to function were also temporarily rendered inaccessible. Many users with Nest Hub thermostats were unable to control their smart devices.
Google’s problems inevitably led to problems for other companies as well. Games like Pokemon Go rely heavily on Google Maps – which caused the game to function incorrectly. The most notable thing about this YouTube outage is that it impacted everyone across the globe. Usually, these outage events are tied to one physical location.
Google services in the US, UK, Netherlands, Japan, and hundreds of other countries reported issues. It’s unclear what steps Google took to resolve the outage, or even what caused it. However, that’s the second time within two months that YouTube has gone down for several hours at a time.
YouTube already pays so little per view; constant outages at peak times can impact millions. Controversial changes in how the company handles advertising on channels not yet approved for a YouTube partnership aren’t helping, either. Many artists have turned to YouTube and other online streaming to keep themselves earning cash during the pandemic.
YouTube has seen a massive increase in watch times during the pandemic, which could be putting a strain on Google’s servers. Though you’d think a company worth billions would be able to handle an influx in traffic a little better.