Google confirms outage, blames Asian traffic jam

Chicago (IL) – Google has confirmed a massive outage that affected multiple services, including search, Docs and Gmail. The company attributed the downtime to a data “traffic jam” in Asia.

“An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. As a result, about 14 percent of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions,” Google explained in a statement. “We’ve been working hard to make our services ultrafast and ‘always on,’ so it’s especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We’re very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we’ll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won’t happen again. All planes are back on schedule now.”

Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee, told CNET that Google had attempted to alter key Internet routing numbers as part of a transition to the IPv6 networking standard. However, an unknown “bug” inside Google’s network reportedly prevented ISP’s from locating Google’s new ASNs on the Internet.  

Unsurprisingly, the downtime was quickly reported on Twitter’s #googlefail channel, where participants offered various theories as to why certain Google users had experienced an outage.

It should be noted Gmail users faced a 20 minute outage on May 8 and an extended period of downtime in February. Other outages occured in April, August and October of 2008.