Just as many people return to work and school following the long Labor Day weekend, it appears that Google Drive suffered hours-long outages across the U.S. The company says the issue should be resolved now, but it took Google about three hours between acknowledging the outage and announcing that it was resolved.
Perfect timing — That's... less than ideal considering how reliant teachers, in particular, have come to be on Drive and the Google Classroom collaboration software, with most schools in work-from-home mode due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some schools around the U.S. are holding their first day of class today.
The challenges of distance learning — It's just a reminder that as safe and preferable as at-home learning is under the current circumstances, it is, in some aspects, still insufficient. A surprising amount of students don't even have reliable access to the internet at home, and even when they do it can be hard for teachers and parents to keep younger children focused. If basic services they use to communicate aren't even functioning, that can cause hours of disruption to learning.
Google could have also communicated the situation better. The company published an announcement at 7:30 a.m. PT that it was aware of the outage, then another at 10:23 a.m. PT saying it was resolved — but it didn't share either announcement to social media until 10:30 a.m. PT.
Teachers are struggling to adjust to distance learning on-the-fly, and the lesson here is that they'll need to make sure they have back-up options in the event a particular service goes down.