January 24, 2014

Gmail outage slows work but not jokes

A midday loss of Gmail caused some business disruptions, but because it was fairly brief, it mostly elicited jokes and comments about email reliance in general.

It was either the pause that refreshed or a reason to tear out one’s hair.

For somewhere between 10 and 90 minutes Friday, Gmail, the free, cloud-based email service from Google, went down, according to users scattered around the globe.

The temporary outage, occurring between noon and 1:30 p.m. in the Kansas City area, affected Gmail, Google+ and other services, such as Hangouts and YouTube.

One common message during the disruption said, “Oops … a server error occurred and your email was not sent.”

Traffic on Twitter fired up immediately, joking that other email services such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook were getting unusually better public relations. But email users also noted that most services have experienced outages. Yahoo Mail, for example, was down for some users for a few days in December.

Google was slow to provide an explanation for the disruption.

After service was restored, Google wrote on its App Status Dashboard: “The problem with Gmail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

Tech enthusiasts enjoyed pointing out that at the time of the outage a “reliability” team from Google was conducting an online question and answer session on Reddit, an Internet news and comment site.

Aside from references to competing email services, the Twittersphere filled with references to productivity — enhanced or hurt because of the glitch. And many tweets mentioned current national security revelations.

“Gmail isn't really down, it's just making a copy of your email for the NSA,” one user wrote in reference to the National Security Agency.

Internet users were able to keep track of Google’s email status by, you guessed it, using Google’s search engine.

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