Gmail Goes Down and the World Grinds to a Halt


Or at least it feels that way every time it happens.

Gmail, including Google Apps, went down for about four hours or so this morning (or this afternoon, depending on where you are). It says a lot for Gmail’s reach that when it does go offline, it makes immediate headlines.

Like many, the first thing I do every morning is check my email accounts. When the errors started popping up, I went straight to Twitter Search to be assured I was not alone.

I had other things to do. I could have checked headlines. I could have finished some work that had nothing to do with email. I could have balanced my checkbook. Heck, I could have spent extra time with the morning paper or gone for a brisk walk. But no, I kept trying to load my email while keeping an eye on Twitter. Judging by the tweets, I was not alone.


I know I’m over-reliant on email. As soon as I saw it was a global problem, I knew Google would resolve it quickly, and they did. But still, it bothered me that it was so difficult to concentrate on anything else until service was restored.

Checking email is part of the web worker’s routine. Does it throw you off kilter when it’s not available? What do you do to pass the time until Google gets the hamsters running again?



It was about 8pm for me when Gmail went down, it was a bit annoying but I figured “meh, it will be there tomorrow” and I went and played Fable 2 for a few hours :)

Had it happened during the work day I would have just worked on something non-email related for a few hours (as I do anyway since I try not to check emails more than twice a day). If I couldn’t do that, waiting on approvals etc, I would have spent my time reading some of the mountain of research material I have printed out.

Todd Jamieson

Like James I set-up the offline mode. We use google apps at our office and we quickly found out who didn’t install it. I’ve had to rely on it a few times now – I think it was a much needed upgrade for gmail.


It would have been more frustrating without IMAP/POP and google gears (for google docs). Luckily, I always keep a copy of my emails in Yahoo! When the epidemic spreads I’m sure one of them will survive.

Simon Mackie

@James I had Offline Mode on too so was able to continue working on those emails that had arrived overnight. I take it that if I hadn’t already had offline mode enabled that I wouldn’t have been able to enable it after the site broke, though.

Also, I read conflicting reports on Twitter about IMAP working. A few people couldn’t get in on their phones, for example.


It’s frustrating, but not the end of the world. I used the recently enabled ‘offline’ GMail mode to answer all those emails I’d been putting off replying to.

And the IMAP/POP functions continued to work, so anyone using a desktop or mobile client (like myself) to access their GMail could continue to send/receive email without any problem.

Jason Harris

Honestly, I think people’s outrageous reaction to a cloud-based, free service going down is laughable.

If Gmail was down for days, I can see the relevancy of the freakout, but a matter of hours is nothing, in my opinion.


When my internet goes down I fuss and complain and gripe, and just about the time I decide to do something fun instead, it comes back up. Takes the wind out of my sails!

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