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Summary:

If, like our little company, you run your business using Google Apps, you’re playing with fire. For time and again, the company has proven that despite all its talk, its offerings are as unreliable as those of any other service provider. Today, once again, Google’s Gmail […]

googlelogoIf, like our little company, you run your business using Google Apps, you’re playing with fire. For time and again, the company has proven that despite all its talk, its offerings are as unreliable as those of any other service provider.

Today, once again, Google’s Gmail service has gone on the blink, thereby disrupting our company’s work flow. For a few minutes, I quite enjoyed the fact that there was a lot less email than usual in my Inbox, but its absence gets in the way of getting any work done. Just to be clear — we have a paid version of Google Apps, so I have a legitimate reason to gripe about the Gfail.

What really bothers me is the crap Google posts on its Google Apps status page. “We are aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users,” it posted this morning. Seriously, guys? If you look at the number of people complaining on Twitter and Facebook, it sure doesn’t look like only a small subset of users is affected by this.

A large number of entities depend on Google for applications that include Gmail. The city of Los Angeles has been moving to Google Apps, as are other civic departments. Even the U.S. government is toying with Google’s offerings. But that would be a mistake — Google, as some of us can attest, is still not ready to reliably offer cloud services. Not even email!

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. Its even more scary that day by day, more services are ‘dependent’ on their offerings i.e. Contacts with iPhone, Calendar options, Docs – may be its us who have to be blamed to not have _one-provider-has-all_.

    But again, the whole point of having one interface/system bring them all _is helpful_ but only as long as things work.

  2. Hotmail and Microsoft services in General go down all the time, the community doesn’t care as much though. That’s why when Gmail goes down, everybody notices it.

    1. Is there a news story here? It’s hard to tell over the sound of the waaaambulance.

    2. i have never experienced downtime with hotmail/live this has very reliable for me – also keep in mind there is a difference from commeral mail like gmail and corporate mail like exchange server etc……gmail is a commercial mail that is not ready for the enterprise!

    3. Rahul Krishnakumar P11D Thursday, September 24, 2009

      I also have experienced little to no problems with Hotmail/Live. The service may not be “innovative” and provide the features that Gmail does, but it seems to be more reliable than Gmail at this time. I can’t even remember the last time Hotmail/Live seemed to have a problem. This is the second time in a month for Google alone. You just seem to be complaining to make yourself feel good for using Gmail.

    4. No hosted email service will be perfect but…point me to details of HOtmail being down all the time. Really. I’m waiting.

    5. This is a troll :-)

    6. “its offerings are as unreliable as those of any other service provider.”
      Or you can say its offerings are as good as others.
      Haha.
      So, Why Google?

  3. IMAP has worked the last few times and if you set up Gears with the web client it has worked okay too even during the outages. Anyway, ALL providers go down, that’s just the nature of the game.

  4. I agree GMail isn’t 100% reliable, but what service is? Not even USPS was in the snail mail days, no? Any better alternatives? Not in my view

  5. Agreed. Behind the scenes, Google is really an inept operation. You would not believe the magnitude of the criminal element that calls Google Apps home. *AND* Google only slaps their wrist. This is *not* a world class organization, folks. Do your homework before leaning 100% on Google.

  6. I understand your concern but I really don’t feel the complaint is valid. I have used all sorts of corporate email systems, over the years, and they have all failed from time to time. In my experience, Gmail has actually been pretty reliable – not perfect, but still quite good. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t continue to strive for perfection, but I think it is unfair to suggest that they aren’t a viable alternative.

  7. A) IMAP still works, and worked during the last outage.
    B) Reliability is still at or near 99%. Ask around large companies that use Exchange and ask about their reliability – probably pretty similar. I think the fact is that NOTHING works 100% of the time – telelphones, power, 3G, etc. You may pay for Gmail but its a lot cheaper than running your own Exchange server and even that wouldn’t guarantee 100% reliability.

    I understand people’s frustration, but occasional outages should be expected. 2 in one month is a little unusual, but how about the long stretches of time with no outages?

    1. Brian

      IMAP stopped working for about an hour for me.

      More importantly I think there is a growing incidence of google mail outage over past few months. People have complained about lost emails and other such issues.

      @Fred you put it best on behalf of all of us who are too frustrated with Google.

      1. I absolutely agree. I’ve actually been noticing regular outages for over the last year and frankly have been surprised that there has not been a more vocal response (until now). The last six months have been increasingly worse. Perhaps some issues have been regional however the recent outpouring of complaints may imply a growing broader national, international issue. Additionally, and again surprised that this has not yet surfaced in the public discourse, I am noticing increasing issues using Gmail with Firefox (someone please take a note). I find that when that occurs I sometimes am able to access Gmail in Safari this while Gmail still being inaccessible in Firefox. There have weeks where this is a daily occurrence. There is definitely a bug there.

      2. During the outage, my mail “appeared” to be working. I sent a test email to another email account to very…. and it never arrived. That’s much worse than what you all experienced. How can I trust my gmail if mail seems to work, but never arrives at the destination???

  8. this is the risk of so much centralization. everything fails at some point – it’s a matter of reducing the size of the impact. in this case, so many people have flocked to google’s services that any failure has a huge impact. sit back and enjoy, it WILL happen again.

    1. Then again, if it’s a bigger impact, it may be more likely to have more support and get resolved more quickly because of the magnitude :)

      Not saying that’s necessarily the case here, just saying bigger impact doesn’t necessarily imply worse.

      1. in cases like this it would need to get resolved magnitudes faster! total up the lost minutes and hours of every person impacted and it becomes quite significant. their response times to this seem to be quite average in my estimation.

  9. Guess I’m not part of a Left Coast subset. Gmail still working fine in my neck of the prairie.

    1. Gmail was down in DC for me.

  10. A) IMAP still works, and did during last outage.
    B) Gmail is at least as reliable as any exchange server i’ve ever had to deal with. Not to mention (in a corporate environment) the T-1 line, the power, the phone system, etc. Nothing is 100%, Gmail is more reliable than most others, and free (though I understand you pay, no one promised more reliability for paying).

    I understand it is frustrating and has now happened twice in one month, but over time Gmail has been very reliable, and is better than Hotmail or Yahoo. If you want to do it yourself by all means set up an exchange server but my bet is you have similar problems as Gmail has.

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