Judging by some of the hysteria on Twitter and other social sites, the relatively brief outage of several Google services on Friday, including Gmail, nearly signaled the end of the world as we know it. Luckily for mankind, Google was able to restore its services within an hour, and much sooner for many users, thus narrowly dodging an apocalypse, though not before being hit with a stone that was thrown from Yahoo's glass house.
"Earlier today, most Google users who use logged-in services like Gmail, Google+, Calendar and Documents found they were unable to access those services for approximately 25 minutes. For about 10 percent of users, the problem persisted for as much as 30 minutes longer," Ben Treynor, Google's VP of Engineering, stated in a blog post on Friday. "Whether the effect was brief or lasted the better part of an hour, please accept our apologies—we strive to make all of Google’s services available and fast for you, all the time, and we missed the mark today."
Treynor blamed the issue on a software bug found crawling around an internal system that generates configurations and tells other systems how to behave. The bug caused it to send an incorrect configuration to live services, causing user requests for data to be ignored. As a result, those services generated errors, which users began seeing.
During the outage, Yahoo suffered from a temporary lack of judgement and decided to call out Google's Gmail outage on Twitter, having apparently forgotten that its own email service suffered trouble of its own for a good chunk of December. It was a simple tweet saying that Gmail was down along with a pic of the error message users were seeing.
"Earlier today, a tweet that reflected bad judgment was posted and has been deleted. We apologize to Google and the Gmail team," Yahoo posted in a followup tweet.
In other words, Gmail goes down and Yahoo is the one that ends up looking silly.