Google’s popular web-based email client, Gmail is on the fritz with some users getting error messages, while others just can’t use chat. Even for those with problems, the occurrence is uneven, with some services working on mobile clients but not on the web. But no matter what is wrong with Gmail, there’s a side effect worth exploring — whether the wobbly GMail performance makes Google’s Chrome browser more crash-prone.
Anecdotally, people on Twitter are reporting Chrome crashes left and right, and some of those with more experience on the systems administration and development side are blaming Chrome’s crashes on whatever is plaguing Gmail.
Over at a Hacker News thread, users are blaming the problems on Google’s Sync service that lets you sign into Chrome as the culprit.
I’ve long noticed that Google’s web services are more likely to crash Chrome and have asked Google about this on multiple occasions (both officially and by asking random Apps engineers at parties,) but have never gotten an explanation. One hunch is that because Google has engineered its multiple services to run across a common architecture, failures in one place can set off problems in another. Because Chrome is actually a stand-alone program as opposed to a service (although there are options like Sync that require a Google service element) maybe Google has built-in hooks to its applications and services that render it unstable when those applications and services go down.
Whatever the cause — and, Google, I’d love to learn more — this isn’t great timing since Google recently said it would stop offering free accounts of Apps for enterprise users. Google’s status dashboard shows that things are wobbly on the Gmail front, and a spokeswoman declined to comment. However, over at Data Center Knowledge, Rich Miller provides an overview of outages past for those who want to stroll down 502 or 404 lane.