Yesterday saw the outage of several Google services including Gmail and Drive, and the unexplained issue also caused many Chrome browsers to crash. In a thread on the Chromium developer forum, Google Software engineer Tim Steele explained that the issues were due to a misconfigured server that took out Google's Sync platform.

As Wired points out, bad web coding can often cause a browser to crash, but this was something different: the coding of a cloud-based service designed to help you browse caused browsers to crash without any user action. As more people turn to cloud services to help us organize and store our data, the impact of such outages may be far greater.

Update: Google has released the following statement.

"Earlier today, we experienced an issue with Chrome Sync, which resulted in Chrome browser crashes for a subset of users. From our investigation, it appears the crashes were due to bugs in both the sync client and server.For everyone who was affected, we apologize - we know you count on Google to work for you and we worked hard to restore normal operation for you. The sync client and server teams are currently working on fixing the bugs to prevent the same issue in the future."