Blog Post

Gmail's Out…Again

Update: Google says sorry about the GMail outage. That’s good enough for me. Here is what Todd Jackson, GMail product manager had to say on the company blog.

Many of you had trouble accessing Gmail for a couple of hours this afternoon, and we’re really sorry. The issue was caused by a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly.

We’ve identified the source of this issue and fixed it. In addition, as with all issues that affect Gmail and our other services, we’re conducting a full review of what went wrong and moving quickly to update our internal systems and procedures accordingly. We don’t usually post about problems like this on our blog, but we wanted to make an exception in this case since so many people were impacted.

Original post below the fold.

It’s almost becoming routine, these outages at Google’s Gmail service. After we reported last week that there were some problems with Google Apps, today a much bigger outage hit Google’s email service, taking down the entire system, it seems.

Given that our company relies on Google’s Gmail and GTalk service, our operations came to a standstill this afternoon. We aren’t a large company but the losses are very real, especially in productivity. I wonder how the big customers of Google — folks like Sanmina-SC — are dealing with this e-blackout.

If an outage of this magnitude can strike Google, the company with a fearsome infrastructure, I wonder who — if any — can plan for the worst. I guess it’s time to stop picking on Twitter, which was fast becoming synonymous with the word “outage.” In fact, in recent weeks, not only Google’s services but those of Amazon’s S3 and Apple’s MobileMe have gone on the blink, leading us to rethink our assumptions about the reliability of the web as a platform. Clearly a lot of work still needs to be done.

How is your workday being impacted by Gmail outage? Share your stories with us.

Photo courtesy of Kyle May via Flickr.

55 Responses to “Gmail's Out…Again”

  1. Rafael V. Rabinovich

    Once again, September 1st at 4:20 PM EDT, can’t get to gmail on either my computer or my cellphone, and google gives an error message. What’s the matter?

  2. We recommend both Google Premier and Bluetie, especially for those looking for an Exchange replacement. But as with anything else, things do happen and the need for business continuity (backup) is ever more an essential part of doing business.

    When it comes to mission critical email, having a domain based backup is a must have, even if it is used on very rare occasions, it’s insurance that keeps communications flowing.

    Our security and backup messaging services have grown significantly the past couple years and we see no down tuen coming any time soon.

  3. My friends father has two lumber and mill companies in CA, and they use BlueTie and swear by it! Its quite affordable for a full blown sharing application AND they have a support staff for their end users. We are thinking of using them for our company as well.

  4. Have you guys heard of BlueTie? They area web based hosted email provider that seems to be gaining a lot on the Gmails, Zimbras and even Exch 07. They are similar looking to outlook, with most of the shared capability of Exchange………I have a personal account, and it works fantastic, and also have a friend who is an IT director for a mid sized company that uses them, and they swear by it. Check them out if you have time!

  5. My Apple Mail indexes hosed on Sunday night, we switched to our Gmail account for everything and closed Apple Mail for the last time… Gmail even with a 2 hour outage, is still faster, more portable and more reliable than Apple Mail will ever be…


  6. I have a gmail account at work, in addition to my regular address, which Entourage checks every minute. I am constantly getting errors that my gmail account cannot be accessed. I noticed that almost every day over the past month or two my gmail account cannot be accessed for at least 10-20 minutes. Maybe some users don’t notice because they don’t have a mail program constantly accessing the gmail server.

  7. Mark Ashton

    Hopefully this is not interpreted as flame bait because that is not the intent.

    Outages like this are one of the reasons that most businesses will continue to use software or services from companies that have roots in enterprise software. Companies use Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange in their own datacenters because they have more control. Some might argue that Google’s datacenter infrastructure is obviously more robust than any company’s datacenter(s) but obviously not robust enough. Also, as Microsoft and IBM and others begin to offer Exchagne and Notes as hosted services I believe that many business customers will look to them first before Google. Google’s a great company and, with their deep pockets, they probably have the ability to make GMAIL more mission-critical. But as a consumer-targeted offering that is attempting to uplevel to an enterprise offering they have some pretty big barriers in front of them.

  8. Chris B.

    My small business is hosted through Premier Apps – access to the cloud was down for several hours as I needed to send out e-mail and check my calendar; lack of access to my account has been an issue over the past two months and I’m considering a move to a provider like – same fee, less cloud storage for that fee, but the downtime is getting to be a pain.

    Personally – I have a free Gmail account and it was down for about a day, and I’ve been cut off from access to my cloud about a dozen times for extended periods since June 1. Wait, it gets better. I also use MobileMe for my family – yep, we’ve been going to the park more often…

  9. OK this is now becoming ridiculous!

    We have 5 premium accounts with GMAIL and now that connectivity has been restored all the accounts are blank-

    -No mail in Inbox
    -No contacts

    Have sent mail to gmail techsupport- but as usual the people at the plex are too busy getting massages than to respond to user concerns!

    Do they realize that they are playing with the livelyhood of actual human beings here??

  10. Pabodie

    Scott and Ben are spot on. Google Mail/Apps is an incredible suite for the price. Free software enables so much other value to be created in our economy. Cloud backlash is inevitable. Fortunately for all of us, so is the cloud.

  11. Thank you! I’ve been trying to raise this point about GMail for months and no one in the media has written about it. It is constantly down. It happens about once each week or every two weeks. Sometimes only a few brief moments other times for 1/2 hour to an hour+. The increased frequency of outages coincided with the rollout of major product release (it may have been mapping iGoogle search results to consumer behavior – but not sure, looking through my notes). Additionally, Google insists on connecting your GMail account (‘consumer’ account) to business applications such as AdWords or Adsense. You cannot log into AdWords without automatically getting logged out of GMail (if it’s a separate ’email/username’). Also, there is an increased lag in page rendered (GMail, Google search results, iGoogle, etc) and can see that now all Google owned domains/webpages have Google Analytics integrated. I know, I know, not unique for a business to analyze their traffic however we should be aware the potential…and likely ‘potential’ is a soft term since this data is already being used and likely analyzed to see how to further monetize us all.