Gmail users suffer through outage

Gmail went offline Tuesday for some users.

Gmail went offline Tuesday for some users.

(Credit: Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Gmail users were unable to get to their accounts on Monday as an outage struck the Google e-mail service.

“We’re aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users. The affected users are unable to access Google Mail,” Google said at 11:12 a.m. PDT on its Google Apps status dashboard after it discovered the error.

At 11:28 a.m., some good news arrived: “Google Mail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future.”

However, two hours later, the problems persisted for some, and the Twittersphere was abuzz with griping.

The problems appeared to affect the Web-based version of the service, but accounts could be reached using third-party e-mail software that used the IMAP, or Internet Message Access Protocol, interface.

Gmail is used by tens of millions of people, and its fast growth carried it past AOL’s e-mail service into third place, according to ComScore.

Google didn’t immediately comment on the scope and cause of the outage. It’s not the first Gmail outage this year.

Google Apps customers, who pay $50 per user per year, get extensions of their service contracts, if their services are down for longer than a certain duration. The dashboard showed only mail to have troubles, not other Google Apps services, such as Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Docs.

Outages pose problems for Google, as it tries to persuade companies to buy into its cloud-computing vision, in which applications are hosted on the Internet rather than on corporate computers. But Google argues that its service availability is competitive with most organizations’ abilities to run their own e-mail servers.

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