Glitch trips up Google Drive, Docs for hours

Google hasn't said what caused the problem that lasted more than 5 hours, nor how widespread it was

A service disruption that lasted more than five hours made key Google Web apps malfunction on Thursday.

At around 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, Google acknowledged on its Apps Status page a problem with its Drive cloud storage service and with its Docs word processing and Sheet spreadsheet applications, and later with its Sites intranet builder.

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The company declared the problem solved at around 7:30 p.m., but didn't explain what caused it or how many users were affected. Later on, after 10 p.m., the Slides presentation creation app also hit a glitch that lasted for about 30 minutes.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The apps and services affected are used by individuals with free Google accounts and also by organizations with the Google Apps suite, which comes in free and fee-based editions.

The disruption happened on a day when rival Microsoft made a splash with its rebranding of Office Web Apps as Office Online. This free suite of browser-based, scaled-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, which competes against Google Docs, also got upgraded on Thursday.

The last major outage affecting Google Web apps happened last month, when Gmail and many other products were affected over the span of about one hour. At its peak for about 30 minutes, the disruption hit most users of the affected apps and services.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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