Gmail users on Twitter began posting about access problems shortly after 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday and Google acknowledged the issue at 9:42 a.m. PT on its App Status Dashboard.
By 10:18 a.m. PT, Google said its team was investigating the issue, which was affecting less than 2% of the Gmail user base.
In January, Google CEO Larry Page said that there are some 350 million Gmail users worldwide. So fewer than 7 million users were affected, which is still a significant number of people.
Google said at 10:46 a.m. PT that the issue had been fixed and expressed regret for the incident. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," the company said. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."
Outages and lesser service disruptions occur fairly regularly among Internet companies. At the end of February, Microsoft's Windows Azure service was unavailable for about nine hours. Hotmail was also down for about an hour in February. Amazon Web Services also suffered lengthy outages last year in certain parts of the world.
Last September, Google redesigned its App Status Dashboard to present information about service issues in a more effective manner.
In general, the majority of cloud service customers tend to accept that failures happen if companies are prompt and forthright in their communication about downtime and restoration of service. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all improved how they report on service issues. However, Microsoft continues to keep its Office 365 Service Health Dashboard hidden behind a login Web page, despite the public availability of its Windows Live dashboard.
See the future of business technology at Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10. It's the best place to learn how cloud computing, mobile, video, virtualization, and other key technologies work together to drive business. Register today with priority code CPQCNL07 to get a free Expo Pass or to save 25% on Flex and Conference passes..