Gmail Down for an Hour, Affects 5 Million Users

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-04-17 Print this article Print

No cause for the outage had been revealed by Google admins; the service's uptime record has been 99 percent since 2007.

Google's Gmail email service was disrupted for a bit more than an hour on April 17, disallowing about 2 percent of account holders to access their mail during that time window.

Two percent of Google's email users translates to about 5.25 million people.

No cause for the outage had been revealed by Google admins by 2:45 p.m. Pacific time April 17. The only company statement at that time was: "We've implemented a fix and users should now be able to access their mail. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Google reported that the outage started at 9:42 a.m. Pacific time. A message from the email administrator at 10:24 a.m. said that "Google Mail service has already been restored for some users."

A message sent 22 minutes later read: "The problem with Google Mail 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."

Hundreds of people reported the outage on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and in Gizmodo's comments, among other places.

Gmail, which now provides users with 7GB of storage, generally has a good uptime record. Prior to April 17, Gmail has been down only once in the last three years and seven times since it went general issue on Feb. 7, 2007.

On Feb. 27 and 28, 2011, Gmail users after signing in found their Gmail inbox contact files empty. About 1.5 million users were affected by that one. There were four outages in 2009, all fairly brief, and one in 2008.

Google reported that Gmail was available 99.984 percent of the time in 2010, and 99.99 percent in 2011.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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