Gmail wobbles again on Friday, fourth incident since late last week

Incidentally, all four issues cropped up after Google eliminated its free Google Apps edition

Gmail ran into technical difficulties again on Friday, the fourth such issue in a little over a week, and all happening after Google announced the elimination of its free Google Apps edition.

The latest problem cropped up early Friday afternoon Eastern Time and affected users' ability to access or send attachments, according to Google's Apps Status Dashboard.

Google acknowledged the problem shortly after 1:40 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time and declared it resolved about 35 minutes later. The company didn't say in the dashboard note how many Gmail users were affected.

This incident was preceded by an email delivery delay issue first detected at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, and resolved more than three hours later. Again, Google didn't say in the dashboard how many people were affected.

A shorter but apparently more widespread problem struck Gmail on Monday in which users experienced "slow performance or errors."

The string of recent technical problems began on Thursday of last week with an issue first identified at around 8 p.m. ET and resolved a little over an hour and a half later. Google didn't provide details in the dashboard about what went wrong or how many people were impacted.

The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about these issues.

Earlier that day, Google had announced its decision to eliminate the free version of Google Apps, which could be used by up to 10 people in an organization. Google Apps includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Sites.

Although Google will allow existing customers of the free edition to continue using it, it's no longer accepting new signups for it. Instead, companies only have the option of Apps for Business, which costs US$50 per user, per year, and includes around-the-clock phone support for any issue, a 25G-byte inbox and, of particular relevance during this past week, a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.

The Education edition of Google Apps, which is for schools and universities, continues to be free, and the Government edition's price of $50 per user, per year remains the same. For consumers, Google Accounts, which include Gmail, are free.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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