It looks like Google's in the middle of a major service disruption — at the moment, Gmail, Google+, and Hangouts all appear to be having major connection issues. Reports on Twitter are coming in fast and furious, and we've also noticed extremely slow connections on YouTube, Google Docs, and Google Drive. Google Play Music also appears to be down for the time being. Google's homepage still loads fine, and search appears to be working without any issue right now.
Google's App Status Dashboard currently shows no connection problems, however — we'll see how long it takes for that to update. Google's competitors have apparently taken note of the outage too. Yahoo took the rather bold step of tweeting about Gmail's outage — one could say they're tempting fate a bit after Yahoo's email went down for multiple days last month. We're reaching out to Google to find out the cause of today's outage, but in the meantime this gives you an excuse to stop checking email a little bit early before the weekend.
Update: Things are starting to come back to life after the seemingly brief outage, though full reliability and functionality is still very much missing. Gmail is sending and receiving messages again, though issues with contacts still persist. Hangouts appears to be hit or miss right now, with messages sometimes sending in large bursts after not working for several minutes. Google has also updated its app status page, which now notes a partial outage for Gmail with all other services supposedly unaffected. Google+ and Google Play Music, however, remain inaccessible. We'll be keeping an eye out to see when things at Google are totally back to normal.
Update 2, 3:08 PM ET: About an hour after Google went down, it looks like things are returning to normal. Hangouts, Chat, and Gmail seem to be performing as normal, while Google+ and Play Music also appear to be back online. We'll continue to keep an eye on Google's reliability this afternoon and see if we can get a response from the company as to why things went down today.
Update 3, 3:45 PM ET: Google has updated its status dashboard to reflect outages across nearly all of its services, not just Gmail. However, things do appear to be largely stable now, and Google itself said on Twitter that "most of the issues" have been resolved. In the meantime, Yahoo apparently decided its earlier tweet mocking Google for its Gmail outage was made "in bad judgement." The tweet has since been deleted, with Yahoo apologizing to Google over Twitter.
Update 4: 9:20 PM ET: Google published a blog post detailing the reasons behind today's outage. "At 10:55 AM PST this morning, an internal system that generates configurations-essentially, information that tells other systems how to behave-encountered a software bug and generated an incorrect configuration," writes VP of engineering Ben Traynor. That configuration was pushed out and caused the outage — but the same system eventually corrected itself and pushed out a new, correct configuration 15 minutes or so later.