Users struggled to find locations on Google Maps on Friday morning during a widespread outage affecting both the desktop and mobile app versions of the service. It had been out for over three hours, coming back online for some users starting around 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT.
Although maps are displayed, users cannot search for locations or draw routes for walking, driving, transporting, or biking. Additionally, Maps is not able to pull data that is not already saved on a user’s device. So when users zoom out from their current location, Google displays a blank map.
“Wow, I’ve never seen a Google Maps outage like this” user tweeted.
According to Downdetector, users began reporting disruptions at 11:13 a.m. ET / 8:13 a.m. PT. More and more users were reporting disruptions as of press time, reaching 12,735 reports as of 12:29 a.m. ET / 9:29 p.m. PT.
A 90-minute outage is unprecedented for Google, whose maps are also the backbone of apps like Waze and maps used in tech stacks for companies like Snapchat, Lyft, Accenture and Square. At the time of writing, there were no problems calling a Lyft or seeing other users’ locations on Snapchat, although some Twitter users say they’re having trouble downloading Airbnb’s maps layer. Protocol reached out to these companies for comment.
Many users took to Twitter to say the outage was disrupting their travels. “The day I’m supposed to travel to three outer suburbs of Edmonton for interviews, Google Maps stops working. Wow,” we read Tweeter. “WHY IS GOOGLE MAPS ONLY WHEN I FORGET DIRECTIONS? » bed another one.
The problem seems to be worldwide. More than a billion people used Google Maps in 2019 to get their directions each month, depending on the company, with 5 billion users using apps that had Google Maps in their tech stack globally. In the fall of 2021, 10 billion people had downloaded Google Maps from Google Play Store only. Google has not released the total number of Maps downloads or the number of users in 2022.
“We can confirm that the technical issue from earlier today is now resolved,” a Google spokesperson told Protocol. “All affected Google Maps and Google Maps Platform services are now back up and running worldwide.”
This article has been updated to include a statement from Google.