Gmail users found themselves momentarily deprived of email today following a short outage that started in the early morning. Google was quick to respond to the problem, informing users through their blog that there was indeed a problem. The service was restored to normal operation after 3 hours, marking the third 'big' downtime for Gmail in the past six months.

Nonetheless, it's hard to criticize Google for the few outages they've experienced during the past year. With the sheer growing number of Gmail users, they've done pretty well so far to provide a consistent service. They've also responded to feedback about outages, one of the things that prompted them to make Gmail available offline through Google Gears. That's probably not as encouraging to their paying business customers, but unfortunately all services of this kind tend to have failures at one point or another.

Email is an important aspect of cloud computing, which in and of itself relies upon the fact that we trust our Internet connections and services to be fairly stable. In a world where online services are becoming a much larger part of the computing world, are you willing to deal with occasional outages like these? I certainly am, as the convenience that online services offer nearly around the clock vastly outweigh occasional mishaps like this.