Gmail suffers brief outage, Google Apps users unaffected

By on April 17, 2012, 5:30 PM

Update: Google has provided more information regarding the down time.

"We've determined that this issue affected less than 10% of the Google Mail users who attempted to access their accounts during the affected timeframe. While we have resolved this issue with Google Mail, it's possible that some users may experience message delays because affected accounts weren't available to receive messages. The messages will be successfully delivered after account access is restored."


For those who've been spending their lives in the cloud, it would appear it's time to come back down to Earth -- Gmail briefly went down Tuesday. The popular email service took a nose dive around 9:42am PST. Although social media sites like Twitter were abuzz with vivid stories of horror and lament, the interruption lasted about one our. As of 10:45am, everything appears to be back to normal.

The outage appeared to be a global failure, even affecting the likes of Justin Bieber, although other core Google services seemed unaffected.

Instead of users being presented with a login page or their inbox, users were greeted with a server-side error labeled, "Temporary Error (500)". The message said, "We're sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We Apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes."

Additionally, the service interruption also seemed to affect users who rely on IMAP or POP as neither mail protocol was allowing access to Gmail. It may be worth noting that although my own personal Gmail account was down, my Google Apps email account remained functional and suffered no interruptions. As a result, the outage seems to have simply been isolated to Google's consumer email service. 

This is certainly not the first outage Gmail has faced, nor the worst. When the service first rolled out in 2004, it was plagued with long and painful down times. While things have dramatically improved since then, in 2011, Gmail users suffered an unusually long outage which also resulted in a harrowing loss of email for some Gmailers.

Several years ago, Google introduced a status dashboard which gives users a quick way to check whether Google services are functioning properly.

User Comments: 9

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

And downloading a greater than 20 meg application on my brother's android phone since they went to google play (replaces market) is impossible for a long time. Known problem in forums. No angry birds space for him.

Guest said:

Email servers go down all the time. This is nothing new or special.

Guest said:

Two of my Google apps accounts were down today, but my personal account was up, so I think it affected some of both types of accounts.

Jesse Jesse said:

Sure, guest, email servers go down all the time. But gmail servers do not.

nigel said:

According to the Dashboard the outage was for 64 minutes from the time Google accepted a report that the issue existed. Maybe the details need updating in the story

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

According to the Dashboard the outage was for 64 minutes from the time Google accepted a report that the issue existed. Maybe the details need updating in the story

Thanks for the heads up.:-)

I have updated the story with the apps status message and corrected the unofficial times that were being reported when the story was written.

Tygerstrike said:

wow you mean ppl couldnt check their gmail for an hour? I guess it didnt destroy the world so everything is ok. Really this isnt much of a news worthy event here.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Tyger, don't get me wrong, but in case you haven't seen Die Hard 4.0, a single hour of the internet being brought to a standstill can bring the world to its knees. Ok, that's a bit overstated. :p

TJGeezer said:

I saw the error and checked back later, big deal. But we could start rumors of moral downfall and debauchery at the Google offices next time, if we get bored waiting for a (gasp!) temporary email server problem to be corrected. Just a thought.

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