We constantly work to improve the service and, when there are issues, to be more responsive and provide high quality data. Any time someone's unable to access the service, that's a cause for concern and we're highly sensitive to that.
[However,] I'd draw attention to the pragmatic comparison of how often people's corporate mail systems go down, and the five-person company that uses the free Standard edition. Their alternatives are interesting to look at: they can pay hundreds of dollars per seat for a hosted business mail platform from a different provider, or pay tens of thousands of dollars to run their own server. And even if they did that, their uptime guarantees would be less than the actual uptime they're seeing from Apps.
But don't cloud computing providers get into a slippery slope when they start justifying whatever performance problems they encounter by pointing at the different on-premise software model? A big reason why people go to cloud options is to hand over software installation and maintenance tasks to someone like Google, who offers to do them better and at lower cost. But I don't think they expect to be down for 36 straight hours, at which point they may wish to have the mail server in house.
Absolutely. We would never want somebody to be down for any number of hours, or any number of minutes for that matter. Unfortunately, we're talking about cases on the fringe. Our goal is to be at 100 percent reliability and we're getting ever closer week after week. When you're dealing with literally hundreds of millions of active users or accounts, unfortunately until you get pretty darned close to 100 percent, even when you're at 99.999 percent, there is the reality that a user could encounter an issue with service at some point. The goal is absolutely for the expectation that I can move to Google Apps and this cloud-based service and I'll experience perfect uptime and perfectly reliable service and I'll be really happy about the overall experience.