Blog Post

Google Apps, Mail Go Offline for Some

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Updated: Quite a few people are experiencing an extended downtime on their Google Apps accounts, according to sporadic reports that have landed in my inbox. Some folks are not able to get their email, while others have not been able to get hold of their documents. It’s not clear how many people have been impacted, or the magnitude of the outage.

I will call Google later today and find out what is going on with the service. We have personally not suffered this outage so I can’t get too worked up about it. My personal feelings about GMail as an enterprise mail solution are mixed.

The litany of complaints is available for all to read on Google Discussion Group for Google Apps. The problems started last night, according to some estimates. On the discussion group thread, at 2:45 am this morning, a Google support person said that, “[T]he support team are still on duty as are the engineers who are trying to fix the problem. Unfortunately we still don’t have an ETA on resolution, but we’ll keep you posted about the situation and share any additional information we get.”

The problem has a certain Shakespearean twist to it. Many folks want to lodge their complains but can’t — because their email isn’t working. If you have been impacted by this outage, let us know by leaving a comment. You can share your browser outage screenshots via Skitch with us as well.

Update: Stacey just IM’d to let me know that her Gmail is on the blink as well.

Update: A Google spokesperson got back to me, saying:

A small number of our users had difficulty accessing Gmail yesterday. Some Google Apps users were also affected. The problem is now resolved. We know how important Gmail is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We encourage any organizations having technical difficulties to visit the Google Apps Help Center ( ) to contact the Google Apps support team.

Photo courtesy of Kyle May via Flickr.

23 Responses to “Google Apps, Mail Go Offline for Some”

  1. EndUserGee

    Well today Saturday Aug 9, every one of my GMail account recieved an identical spam and it followed the 0-9 A-Z order. One of the account I haven’t even used or told anyone about, yet it got the same spam.

    This tells me that the Google Server with the list of every account was hacked and then every account was emailed (from random senders), but the same message.

    It’s going to be such an annoyance now, since each of those GMail accounts are linked to my mobile. Geeez !!!

    If GMail doesn’t acknowledge they had a security breach, then I believe there is a US law stating that they must tell users it has happened.

    Fortunately for me I only use the GMail account for its email, not name, address, phone number, etc…. Wow if people have personal details like where they live, on there account along with their actual name, I can see identity theft ball getting rolling.

    Wondering now who has all my (and yours) email address’


  2. idodialog

    As a private user gmail has got better and better for me – especially over the last few months, with incremental and often very useful improvements. Having said that I would never rely on one only email app (online or otherwise) and whilst nothing is perfect I also wouldn’t expect to infallably receive every email sent to me.
    I’ve never had a single occurence of downtime (the present included) with gmail (I’ve had downtime with my beloved Internode mail) even as I’ve watched MS Hotmail/Livemail fall over so in an imperfect world I’m not complaining!

  3. jenkins

    This is becoming somewhat routine. Google is having serious PROBLEMS with keeping gmail working, especially for paying customers. We’re very close to moving away from google simply because the service is unreliable.

  4. Reminds me of a true story. Operator has an outage. When the NOC is asked how everything is going, Supervisor responds — “Good. We have very few phone calls in queue to the call centers.”

    Really? That a big surprise since the phones were the service impacted and don’t work during the outgage. “Have you checked email since it’s only a telephone outage and didn’t impact broadband data ?” “No — didn’t think of that.”

    Another true story. About one month ago I loose telephone service during a thunderstorm on Friday evening. Since my broadband is indpendent of my ILEC I submit a repair request online on their web site. On Monday when I’m in town with my cell phone I call to ask about the status of repair. They ask “Why didn’t you call us when it went out on Friday?” “Because my phone wasn’t working.” “Well then how are you calling us now?” “From another phone — my cell phone.” “Why didn’t you call us with your cell phone on Friday?” “My cell phone doesn’t work at home.” “How do you know it was the phone service that went out and not the power?” “Well, let’s see. It’s probably because the problem was with phone service and not power.” “Doesn’t your phone use electricity?” “Well yes, technically it does, but in this case that electricity is in the local loop from YOU…” ….. goes on and on… haliarious.

  5. The outage yesterday (showed a 502 error on Google Apps mail) lasted 15 hours (from about 1pm CDT to about 4am CDT).

    They did a reasonable job communicating that they were on the case – it must have been a tricky failure as they didn’t claim to have the cause identified until well into the evening.

  6. Om!
    You call a spade a Spade!

    This is one of the reasons why i like your posts. You always write what is correct. No matter if it is google( a big guy ) or a small guy!.

    Thanks, Nag

  7. I have seen the messages about potential problems when I login but haven’t had any so far thankfully. Touch wood.

    Btw, Amazon S3 has had downtime, Google Apps has had on again off again trouble. And there is so much talk about cloud computing? Marc Benioff thinks its Web 3.0! Oh, pleeeze. Everyone is smoking something. Its a cloud of smoke. :-)

  8. edtorresnc

    Google has a big challenge with their ongoing growing list of subscribers. I can only imagine how complex their networking management is at this point.

  9. I am the sys admin for a 100 people company- 2 months ago despite my protests on reliability- my boss decided to switch to gmail to save a few bucks.

    For the last 48 hour we have been unable to get into our mailboxes, and the Gmail team is unreachable on their phones! I finally got them to admit they have a problem after some heated exchanges using my personal Yahoo account.

    we may have lost a new client worth about 10M in revenue opportunity for good

    my boss’s boss asked me to explain why we ever shifted to Google- sometimes I feel I live inside a Dilbert strip!!

  10. @Ryan

    You should read the thread on the discussion board before pointing out that the title is misleading. If anything I am using extreme restraint here. There is no information on how big (or small) this outage is and hence the use for the phrase “for some.”

  11. We were hit with this one. We were losing email during the day yesterday. We used to have a fantastically vague error message on the user-management page, but that’s gone now. Things may be back to normal, it’s hard to say since the outage seemed so sporadic.

    Guess you get what you pay for. ;)

  12. I’m the systems administrator for my company, and we actually have 3 premium accounts with Google. Yesterday afternoon around 2:00 EDT one of my users complained that she was getting a username/password prompt (we use POP/SMTP to access the accounts for most of the users) and I couldn’t get it to accept her password, even after resetting it.

    I tried logging into her Google Apps account, but got a 501 server error. I called support, and they claimed that a server had gone down and they didn’t have an ETA for when it would be fixed. I have then had a few other users complain about similar problems, and they were still unresolved yesterday when I left. All of the effected users were through one of my premium accounts, but I’d say it was less than 10% total of the folks at that domain.

    This morning, I was able to get into the email interface for the user who had the initial problems, but some of my other users still don’t have access. I called the support number and got a recording that there was an outage that was being worked on and to check the google help area for more details.

    When I checked my email, I had a message from them that read as follows:

    On Thu, Aug 7, 2008 at 7:52 AM, The Google Apps Team wrote:

    Hello Google Apps admin,

    We are sorry to inform you that a small subset of users are currently unable to access their Google email accounts, including one or more of the accounts on your domain We know how important email is to our customers, and we are taking this very seriously. Our engineers have identified the source of the problem and are working to restore account access as quickly as possible.

    We apologize for this inconvenience, and we will send you updates as new information becomes available, including how long we expect the outage to last. At any time, you can check the Google Apps Discussion group for the most timely updates. Access to the discussion group is available through our Help Center at Premier and Education Edition administrators can also call the telephone support phone number found in the control panel for the latest status.

    Please accept our sincerest apologies,

    The Google Apps Team

    Please note that the following accounts are affected:

    Of the users listed, one was the original user that was having problems and the other was another user that hadn’t complained and who claimed not to have any problems when I rang him on the phone to check in on him. The other users that are having issues were not listed.

    That’s what I have on the situation. Looking forward to hearing any details you dig up on the situation.