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Why was Google down? What happened to Nest, Gmail and more

Did your Nest speaker refuse to answer any questions this afternoon? It wasn’t just your network. A huge number of Google’s services went down this afternoon. Here’s what happened. 

Users worldwide struggled to access popular Google apps from YouTube to the Google Assistant this afternoon. Luckily, it appears this issue has mostly been resolved now, with many users back online.

Apps that were reported as down included YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Play, YouTube Music, Google Meet, Google Maps, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, Google Home, Google Cloud and Assistant-powered Nest products, including the Google Nest Mini and Google Nest Hub.

While the Nest speakers could still be used to stream music via Bluetooth, the Google Assistant was sadly unavailable.

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Many of the above issues were spotted on outage monitor Downdetector. The website showed a sharp spike around 11:47am across most of Google’s services, indicating when the user reports started rolling in.

Google acknowledged the outage on its status dashboard at 11:55am, before sharing a second, more positive update at 12:31pm.

The entry for Gmail reads, “Gmail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change”, and the same update seems to have been applied for other services across the board.

All of the Google services we’ve revisited appear to be up and running again, though there still appear to be issues that need ironing out.

While we were able to access our Gmail inbox once again, a banner at the top of the page warns “Gmail is temporarily unable to access your contacts. You may experience problems while this persists”.

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Now, the question on many Google users minds is: what happened?

The short answer is that it’s still unclear. Google has yet share a reason for the outage, leaving many of us returning to the company’s apps without an explanation.

Trusted Reviews has contacted Google for comment on the cause of the outage, but at the time of publishing hadn’t received a reply.

We will update this story as we learn more.