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Google suffers international outages, slowdowns

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Updated Earlier today, web users across the globe were reporting outages on myriad Google services, including Gmail, Google News, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google AdSense, and Google Search.

Google has acknowledged the problem and says it has now been solved, blaming the traffic slowdown on a routing mistake.

"Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia. And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too, so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected. That's basically what happened to some of our users today for about an hour, starting at 7:48 am Pacific time," Google senior vice president of operations Urs Hoelzle wrote on the Official Google Blog.

Hoelzle said that "an error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam." The jam caused slowdowns or interruptions with about 14 per cent of Google's users.

"We've been working hard to make our services ultrafast and 'always on,' so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens," he said. "We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again. All planes are back on schedule now."

According to CNet, McAfee has data indicating that the problem was caused when Google tried to change some of its internet routing numbers as part of its transition to IPv6. Apparently, some sort of hardware failure prevented certain ISPs from recognizing the new numbers.

Before Google's post, Reg readers and staffers in Britain and the east coast of the US experienced slowdowns or outages with Gmail, News, and AdSense. A Twitter search revealed complaints about countless other Google services in multiple other countries. And a web ping via Just Ping showed Google packet losses from locations as widespread as San Francisco and China.

ZDNet reported that New York outages and slowdowns may have been caused by AT&T rerouting issues. But Google says the routing issue was entirely its problem.

Gmail has suffered multiple outages recently, including a Europe-wide outage in February that lasts several hours. Google blamed that particular incident on the failure of a data center to handle extra traffic when another was taken offline for maintenance. ®

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