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Gmail Outage Shakes The Google Faithful

An unknown number of Gmail and Google Apps users were unable to access their accounts for more than 24 hours earlier this week. According to some, the outage was negatively impacting their business.
An unknown number of Gmail and Google Apps users were unable to access their accounts for more than 24 hours earlier this week. According to some, the outage was negatively impacting their business.Starting at some point Wednesday afternoon, users noticed that they were unable to log into their Google accounts. Rather than accepting their sign-in credentials, users were met with a "502 error" message from Google. The company acknowledged that there was a problem and said that it would issue a fix by late Thursday evening.

That did little to quell perturbed customers. One forum member said that the e-mail outage had been rough on his company and it was impacting business.

According to MacWorld, one customer wrote on the Apps Forum, "Support keeps telling me it is affecting a small number of users. This is not a temporary problem if it lasts this long. It is frustrating to not be able to expedite these issues. I have to speak with the boss again and he's po'd. This is considered a mission-critical issue here. We may have to make other arrangements. Apparently Google mail is not very reliable. I think I would have pushed for something else before we switched if I had known the level of unreliability."

I have to disagree with the writer's sentiment about Gmail not being reliable. In the years that I have been using Gmail, I've been locked out of it for perhaps 6 hours at most. Maybe I'm lucky and my account happens to be stored on a set of servers that don't have any problems.

In the decade that I relied on Microsoft Exchange to deliver my corporate e-mail, I experienced what probably amounts to months of outages. I distinctly remember not being able to get into my e-mail for one full week once due to problems with an Exchange e-mail server. In my experience, Gmail has been far more reliable.

That didn't stop a Microsoft spokesperson from reaching out to me to make sure I was aware of the current Google Apps problems. The spokesperson said to me in an e-mail, "The Gmail outage was reported (and buried) on a discussion board yesterday and a solution is expected (but not promised) by EOD today -- 24 hrs later."

He implied that the story wasn't getting the press that it should. Considering the number of other news outlets reporting the issue, I think it is being reported widely enough at this point.

What I want to know is, how much coverage should Microsoft get when its e-mail and other services fail?