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Google apologises for global outage as systems back to normal

Sydney Morning Herald logoSydney Morning Herald 13/03/2019 Tim Biggs
a close up of a map: The Down Detector Gmail outage map as at 3.30pm Wednesday. © Supplied The Down Detector Gmail outage map as at 3.30pm Wednesday.

Gmail and Google Drive services are back up and running, the technology giant has told customers, after suffering a global disruption that left users complaining they were unable to access their files or send emails with attachments.

The issue was first reported on social media at around 1pm AEDT, and complaints came in from North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

In a statement on its website posted about 5.45pm the company said the problem with Gmail was resolved.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," it said.

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

The outage apparently affected users of workplace G-Suite accounts as well as regular Google accounts, though it's still unclear how significant the problem was or what has caused it.

Emails appeared to be sending and delivering as usual, and some users could still access Drive, even during the outage.

Google's statement did not detail the cause of the problem but its initial acknowledgment of the issue at 1.53pm, in which it said users were reporting "error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior".

On Twitter, American entrepreneur and former Googler Chris Sacca appeared to take the outage well, despite saying that his whole social and professional life is run through Gmail.

Globally, Gmail has more than 1 billion active users.

A similar outage occurred briefly in January, although it passed without much disruption in Australia as it struck in the evening.

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