Google 'feels your pain' after the latest Gmail outage

Yesterday, many Gmail users found themselves unable to access their mailboxes, as Gmail returned a "Temporary Error (502)." Google later posted an apology in the official Gmail Blog that gave a clue as to how big the outage was.

"We don't usually post about problems like this in our blog, but we wanted to make an exception in this case since so many people were impacted," Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson posted. About 20 million users visit Gmail daily, and there are more than 100 million accounts in total.

A number of prominent bloggers were affected by the outage, some of whom claim to be users of Google Apps Premier Edition that has a "99.9% uptime guarantee." If taken literally, the 0.1% in the guarantee would constitute 8.76 hours per year.

The last outage of Google Apps which took place earlier this month locked out users for a total of 15 hours, and yesterday's Gmail outage was "officially" one hour and 45 minutes long, though some users complained their service didn't return for over two hours.

As it turned out, popular micro-blogging site Twitter was the place where many aired their complaints, ranging from the befuddled to the enraged.

According to Jackson, the issue was caused by "a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly." Coincidentally, the contacts system was recently upgraded to separate a user's hand-entered contacts from the auto-created ones. Whether the outage was related to this upgrade has not been confirmed.

Google's popular mail service has seen numerous outages over the years, and its indefinite "Beta" status has frequently been called into question.

21 Responses to Google 'feels your pain' after the latest Gmail outage

  1. siryak says:

    People can gripe all they want, but I challenge someone to find a service that offers all that Google offers for free.(If you know of one I would love to know actually)

    I made the switch over to gmail as soon as I could get me an invite to the beta and have been loving it since.

    • DynamicLynk says:

      Yep. GMail FTW, i have been with them since they started gmail invites, actually had to purchase my invite from ebay, but I have gmail emails from 2004.

      I have never had an issue with GMail, and this is nothing major, all I know is you can't get these features with other providers, like POP and IMAP access without paying for it...cough..Yahoo..cough Microsoft.

      • Tk says:

        Man..I really hope they're giving refunds for that downtime. I mean in the last 3 years that I've used gmail they've been down..wait...almost never.

        Oh...wait, it's a free service. I guess I won't be getting that refund.

        How does this story get such global coverage. Email goes down all the time, deal with it. S*** happens.

      • superdragonpoop says:

        I know it's not free anymore, but I have 2 hotmail accounts and 2 yahoo accounts that do get free pop access. Google could, though I doubt they would, make all new accounts require a subscription for the service as well.

  2. icsandwich says:

    I have had gmail for quite some time and just love it. People need to deal w/ problems of everyday life instead of losing their cool. Life goes on.
    Thank you gmail.....I think you're great.!!

  3. hcoale says:

    Yeah, I was irritated when my gmail account was down for almost 2 hours -- and it definitely caused some communication headaches -- but let's be real here. It would be a fair guess to estimate that 99.9% of those angry about this are among the 0.01% most fortunate people on Earth in terms of safety, salary, education and available job opportunity. These spoiled multitudes get angry if they lose 2 hours of a service they use for free, like their tap water, when mere tap water AND electricity are "down" for months on end for hundreds of millions of people every week. I mean seriously... we are a spoiled, pampered and embarrassingly petty society.

  4. psycros says:

    Yeah, Google is smart enough to realize that nobody is going to PAY for what their ISP already provides unless there's a lot more than a mailbox to be had. Allowing POP access costs them absolutely zero extra and enhances their brand tremendously. It is a shame their having these issues, but its more a symptom of their popularity than anything else.

  5. Wolf-pack says:

    Please add me to the, "What are you griping about - it's FREE!" list. Sheesh.

  6. jmerritt5 says:

    I agree. Despite the down time, gmail is reliable. When you don't ever get email, then that's when it becomes unreliable. (now ATT and bunch) is unreliable because of their draconian spam filters. They block email before it reaches your inbox. This means without any filters set, you still lose legitimate email (complaints > /dev/null).

    And with port 25 blocked, I am forced to use gmail as my email service. I am pleased that I did. I now trust that email will arrive.

    P.S. I use fetchmail and never noticed the outage. :-)

    PPS. Their spam filter is very good!

  7. MaqAttaq says:

    A guarantee isn't the same thing as a service level agreement, and given how Google makes their email free (or low-cost compared to other hosting providers), you get what you pay for.

    As an IT consultant and network engineer, I run several email systems, and my total downtime for all of them (hosted in separate locations, different ISPs, different platforms etc.) is less than two hours per year combined, not counting maintenance reboots, ISP outages, and such (which typically aren't counted in SLAs and guarantees).

    If you are relying on Google for mission-critical email, all I'm going to say is that you need to wake up and put more resources into your own IT needs than relying on something that not only has been in beta, but has been free or low-cost.

  8. kxesporlas says:

    I just hope that it will not shut down just like what happend to LinkUP

  9. CK1 says:

    Okay. It was down for while. Take a deep breath. Count to 10 slowly... Hey! It's already back up! (slight exaggeration)

  10. Floodland says:

    Mhh, any person that suffered hotmail and its (pathetic) behavior should be proud of gmail and its "outages".
    But... I agree that when gmail goes down it is a story, right?

  11. coolguyrrd4 says:

    Yahoo Mail FTW. Beta is always screwed up. I am happy to win 3 Gold medals at Beijing.

    Backstroke Breaststroke FTW

  12. hshlevin says:

    I for one do not check the Google blog.

    It would have been a nice gesture and show of their true caring about this significant outage, f GOOGLE sent an individual apology letter to each and everyone of their users... signed by someone like their President

    • cranbers says:

      Have you ever heard of something like that ever actually happening? I mean short of a college or health insurance or bank losing millions of their customers person data due to some spread sheet or laptop being lost.

      Other company's have outages, they may not even admit they had a problem, but google actually says this is what happened, we are sorry and we will fix it. That's not something special? Can you see Microsoft doing something like that if an os they release has issues or their email went down? Hell no, you have their CEO saying " Its a work in progress".

      Gmail is a beta service still, hell they could of just said that, owell outages happen tough luck. Don't like it, go to one of the many other email services out there, duh.

    • preinterpost says:

      Have you sent your individual personal Thankyou letters to the Google President and all the staff for access to all those free tools yet?

  13. RoseB says:

    Have had absolutely no difficulties with my Google accounts ever. I am very satisfied with their service and features. Very easy access.

    • alanpalmer says:

      Ditto. I use a number of their services including Gmail and have never encountered any problems.

  14. RejZoR says:

    Personal apology with president signed lmao. They offer this great service for free and you want Google president licking your arse. Right.
    You guys should be lucky they even offer something like this. Sure the outage was annoying but i've forgiven them right away.
    I haven't had a virus or any kind of outage for last um i don't even remember for how long. 2 years if not more. 7 GB of space and constant upgrades of inbox. My ISP only gives me 100 megs and i pay for that and they never update anything that would greatly enhance my e-mailing habits...

    • vyrwz says:

      totally agree!!

      i know its frustating not having everything at anytime but google is good and some of you people should stop whining and be a little more thankful.

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