Service disruption affected less than 2% of the 350 million Gmail users worldwide.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

April 17, 2012

2 Min Read

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Google's Gmail has recovered after a service disruption on Tuesday that prevented both business and consumer users from accessing their email messages.

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.

[ Read Google: Oracle Wants To Glom Onto Android's Success. ]

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.

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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