Google's instant messaging service has recovered from a widespread outage that lasted around six hours through Thursday morning. Most users were affected by the downtime, which began some time around 6:40AM ET. Google promptly responded to reports of the interruption and supplied regular updates on Google Talk's service status page.

After several hours of investigating, the company managed to restore partial service by 10:50AM ET and downgraded the event from an "outage" to a "disruption." At 11:25AM, Google said it resolved the issue. Although some users report Google Talk to be functioning normally, others remain unable to connect -- including me (I'm in Pennsylvania for whatever that's worth).

Google suggests that those still experiencing a problem should contact the company through its help center. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," Google said. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better." We haven't seen an official explanation for the downtime.

Meanwhile, millions of users are also having trouble connecting to Twitter. The site acknowledged its issue in a status update approximately one hour ago that said engineers are on the case. As with Google Talk, some users claim to have regained access to the service, but the site remains offline for me as of publishing. The cause of this incident is also unknown and it's unclear whether both outages are related.

It follows one month after what was deemed to be Twitter's largest outage since last year, during which the service dropped repeatedly over several hours, including one interruption that lasted for over 40 minutes. Hacking group UGNazi claimed responsibility for that event, saying it was prompted by Twitter's support for CISPA, but the microblogging outfit later confirmed the issue stemmed from a bug on its end.