Well, this is awkward. Just as Google's site reliability engineering team started up a pre-scheduled Ask Me Anything on Reddit on Friday, the company's entire email service went down.
Gmail is down; offices everywhere descend into "Lord of the Flies"-esque disarray— NewYorkObserver (@NewYorkObserver) January 24, 2014
My Twitter feed is 100% gmail-is-down jokes. 100%.— Liz Heron (@lheron) January 24, 2014
"Hello, Reddit!" the team wrote in their posted introduction as Journalism Twitter descended into panic, "We are the Google Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team." Moments later, the team updated Redditors on the Gmail outage: "If you have questions about today’s issue with Gmail, please see: http://www.google.com/appsstatus -- Our team will continue to post updates there." None of the engineers specifically mentioned working on Gmail, although at least one member participating in the AMA apparently works on social (i.e. Google+), which was also down during the outage. The SRE team put up their post in advance of their official start time of 3 p.m. Eastern, meaning that Gmail access was restored for most users just after the group began to answer questions.
According to Google's service status details for Gmail, the site's engineers started investigating the problem by 2:12 p.m. eastern, service was restored to most users by 3:14, and the problem was resolved by 3:23 p.m. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," Google wrote. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."
The gap gave Reddit plenty of space to think up a lot of timely questions to ask Google's senior site reliability engineers.
And some advice:
Google's team started answering questions pretty quickly, once the scheduled start time came 'round, however:
"The guy" links to a callback to an answer the team gave last year during a Reddit AMA:
Read the full Reddit AMA here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.