Google: Server error crashed Gmail, Chrome

Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A worldwide crash of Google's Gmail service that also affected its Chrome web browser was the result of a server error, a company spokesman said.

The Gmail service was out for about 40 minutes Tuesday, leaving users without access to the email stored in the cloud, while millions of users of Chrome experienced crashes in the Web browser, ZDNet reported Wednesday.

Initial reports of a denial-of service attack were quickly denied by Google, which said a problem with Google Sync -- which synchronizes a user's bookmarks, extensions, apps and settings when the user logs in to Chrome from another device -- caused the Chrome problems.

The crash of Chrome had a domino effect on other Google services like Gmail, Google Docs, Drive and Apps, company engineer Tim Steele said in a blog post.

A failed change in the configuration of how its servers handle data traffic was the cause, he said.

"That change was to a core piece of infrastructure that many services at Google depend on," which is why it affected a number of the company's services, Steele said.

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