Google gets Gmail back on its feet after outage

Engineer says they're still investigating what caused the nearly two-hour crash

After a nearly two-hour outage, Google Inc. is getting its Gmail e-mail service back up and running this evening.

The company announced on its Gmail Blog that the problem has been fixed and Gmail should be back up and running as usual.

However, while David Besbris, an engineering director at Google, says they've fixed the problem, he also said they still haven't identified what the problem was.

"We're still investigating the root cause of this outage, and we'll share more information soon," wrote Besbris . "Thanks for bearing with us."

It's not clear exactly when the outage began this afternoon but complaints began appearing on Twitter around 4 p.m. EDT. In a 4:02 p.m. EDT post on its Apps Status page, Google confirmed that Gmail was suffering an outage. The site also noted that Gmail had been dealing with service disruptions yesterday as well.

Jay Nancarrow, a Google spokesman, said in an e-mail to Computerworld that the service was down for about an hour and 45 minutes. He added that it affected the majority of Gmail's tens of millions of users.

This isn't Google's first big Gmail glitch this year. Gmail suffered well-publicized crashes in both February and May.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said, "The more prevalent and important Google Apps, like Gmail, become, the more negative attention each outage will garner, much to Google's embarrassment and chagrin."

"E-mail is a mission-critical application for business users. Period. If customers perceive that Gmail isn't reliable, they won't adopt it. Every Gmail outage makes companies think twice before adopting the free email solution."

Twitter erupted with frustrated tweets from users unable to access their Gmail accounts.

Tweets ranged from: "Gmail, where did you go? I cannot live with this 502 error", to "And those of us willing to pay $US14/year for fastmail.fm just laugh," and "Dear gmail. Was it something I said? I only use my yahoo acct for shopping. It means nothing to me. Please come back. XXOO."

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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