Google Photos is one of the unsung heroes of the Google ecosystem, and its free, fast photo backups are a godsend for shutterbugs and screenshot over-sharers like me. Unfortunately, it took an extra-long dinner break tonight for a large number of users around the world.

Update 8 PM ET: Google Photos and photo backups seem to be back to normal about 2 hours after the outage first began impacting users.

Error photos

If you opened the Google Photos website, you either get a totally blank photo feed or the 503 error seen on the right. If you snapped any new photos on your phone that need to be backed up in the Google Photos app, you'd get a looping message at the top of the Photos feed that it is "Getting ready to back up".

Best VPN providers 2020: Learn about ExpressVPN, NordVPN & more

The outage seems to have started around 5:30 PM ET, impacting users worldwide. If you were wondering why your photos weren't backing up — or why you couldn't download those screenshots you need for a new blogpost — you now have your answer.

As a friendly reminder in this time of need, if you need to access photos you already backed up to the service while the main Google Photos site is down, remember that there's a Google Photos folder in your Google Drive where all your photos are files away by year and month.