Gmail, YouTube and other services that rely on Google’s technology were disrupted for several hours on Sunday by what the company said were “high levels of network congestion.”
It was not clear what specifically was behind the network problems, which Google said it first began investigating around 4 p.m. Eastern time.
Google did not say how it believes the problems originated. The issues appeared to affect more than a dozen Google services, including its cloud computing technology, which is used by many companies to power their own services and apps.
Google said the problems were not caused by a cyberattack, as hypothesized by some on social media. As of 7 p.m., Google said the issue was “resolved for all users.”
The company said in a statement that it would “conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence.”
Contained largely to the Eastern United States, and to a few hours on a Sunday evening, the disruptions appeared to cause less of a headache than they would have if they had hit on a busier workday.
But the widespread nature of the slowdowns and errors underscored just how ubiquitous Google’s services are, and how, given the rise in cloud computing, such problems can have an outsize impact.
Users reported problems with Snapchat and Discord, a voice and text chat app for gamers. Shopify, an e-commerce platform that powers thousands of stores, also reported being affected.
A Google spokesman could not immediately provide more specifics and said the company was still investigating.
Cloud computing, in which companies pay to run their online applications in data centers operated by providers like Google, has been hit by problems before.
In 2017, an Amazon employee entered an incorrect set of commands on a computer and knocked out a set of servers in an Amazon data center. Many were affected by that hiccup, including Slack, Quora and the technology news site The Verge.