Google Drive, Google Docs, and generally Google suite of services are now back online after going down temporarily on January 27, 2020, at around 6:30 pm GMT. Several users had reported that an error message was encountered while trying to access these services.

Users' Heavy Reliance on Google Drive to Backup Files

Google Drive is a file hosting service both individuals and organizations have come to rely on to back up their files including videos, images, PDFs, etc. Google Docs, on the other hand, provides an online text editor for documents to be created, edited, accessed and shared. These two platforms from the search engine giant have grown to be popular over the years, and as such, garnered high adoption.

However, there was a wave of panic around the world on January 27, 2020, around 6:30 pm GMT when some users were unable to access Google Drive and Google Docs. Specifically, they were presented with the error message: "Google Docs encountered an error. Please try reloading this page, or coming back to it in a few minutes."

Google Services Users in North America Report an Error

Most users who said they encountered problems while trying to access these platforms are located in North America, including places like New York, Southern California, Western Texas, and Washington. Users in Minneapolis, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Portland also revealed that they were encountering an issue while accessing Google Drive and/or Google Docs.

The news began to make rounds on popular social media platforms as well as reputable news outlets. The publications on these platforms revealed that users in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia were also affected by the downtime. It seems the agitation around the net was enough to stir Google's technical team into action given that a few hours later, both platforms were up and running.

According to Google while acknowledging the problem on the G Suite Status Dashboard on January 27, 2020:

"We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Drive.”

“The problem with Google Drive should be resolved...We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.” Google said.

Over and above that, it is worth noting that Google Drive and Google Docs were not the only Google services that went down. Google's G Suite Status Dashboard reveals that the same error was evident when accessing Google Sheets, Google Slides and Classroom. What's more, Gmail and Google Search were also reported to have failed to load on Sunday.

Importance of Google's Suite of Services to the Public

On the other hand, one may wonder why there was so much chaos from the downtime of these platforms. For starters, Google Drive is used by over 1 billion people around the world. It has become a place to store both useful and irrelevant files. Accordingly, it would mean files backed up on this cloud storage are inaccessible. Some files include private keys to cryptocurrency wallets, invaluable pictures that hold great memories, company documents, and lots more.

The same can be said about Google Docs since some freelancers have come to rely on the interface to develop their content. Much more, the word processing app allows content to be shared, edited, etc., by whoever has access to its link, depending on the access rights granted. To that effect, if Google Docs went down completely, it would mean losing important files, and the great features offered by this editor.

How to Stay Safe In case Google Drive Goes Down Again

It may be useful to prepare ahead for issues of this nature in the future, as such, back up your Google Drive. All you have to do is:

  • Goto the Drive & Desktop page
  • Choose 'Personal' and download the 'Backup & Sync' application.
  • Once the app has been downloaded and installed on your computer, you can proceed to launch it.
  • Sign in to your Google account.
  • If you have phone verification enabled, enter the code that will be sent to your smartphone.
  • Choose the files you want to backup to Google Drive from your computer or deselect all options and click on 'Next.'
  • Finally, sync your Google drive files to your computer.