If you noticed an issue with one (or many) of your apps not working properly today, you weren't alone — and it wasn't your, or your phone's, fault. Google Cloud Platform had an outage today, around 12:15 p.m. PT, that limited the ability for many popular apps to connect with the cloud that they're reliant on. We don't often talk about the cloud backend that runs all of these apps on our phones, but Google Cloud Platform has some of the world's biggest apps, services and websites as its customers — names like Snapchat, Spotify and even Apple's iCloud. The technical wording for what went wrong initially was a bit more ... wordy:
We are investigating a problem with Google Cloud Global Loadbalancers returning 502s for many services including AppEngine, Stackdriver, Dialogflow, as well as customer Global Load Balancers. We will provide another update by Tuesday, 2018-07-17 13:00 US/Pacific.
And, before that 1:00 p.m. PT deadline, Google had another update to indicate that the issue was resolved for a "majority" of users. "Users" in this case is the apps themselves as a whole rather than individual end users, so whole apps could still be experiencing problems — which of course manifest themselves in end user issues.
The issue with Google Cloud Load balancers returning 502s should be resolved for majority of users and we expect a full resolution in the near future. We will provide another status update by Tuesday, 2018-07-17 13:30 US/Pacific with current details.
According to Google's status dashboard, the problem was fully resolved by 1:20 p.m. PT:
The issue with Google Cloud Global Load balancers returning 502s has been resolved for all affected users as of 13:05 US/Pacific. We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence. We will provide a more detailed analysis of this incident once we have completed our internal investigation.
We don't always think about it, but most of the apps on our phones are just about useless without a connection to the internet — and going a step further, that internet connection doesn't do much unless the cloud infrastructure is in place to handle all of the requests and computation the app needs. We don't really expect Google's servers to have issues all that often, and neither do developers, so we all rely on it inherently — but when problems do arise, the app developers themselves can't do anything. If you experienced the outage today in the form of one of your apps not working properly, cut the developer a break — this one was on Google.