Google's Gmail, Google+ Hangouts and other services experienced shutdowns and slowdowns for many users today, starting about 2:12 p.m. Eastern Time and appeared to be ending within an hour or so.
Reports about the Google service problems lit up social media Websites from many users who often complained vigorously about the disruptions.
In an email response to an eWEEK inquiry, Google confirmed the problems and said that more details would be available later. "We are investigating reports of an issue with some Google services," Google responded. "We will be posting any updates to the Apps Status Dashboard."
That apps dashboard contained a long list of Google services that were experiencing delays and other issues, according to the site. Included in addition to Gmail were Google Calendar, Talk, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Sites, Groups and Google+ Hangouts, according to the dashboard.
At 3:23 p.m. ET, Google posted an update saying that the Gmail issues were fixed. "The problem with Gmail should be resolved," the note stated. "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."
The repairs had brought some users back online by about 3:14 p.m., according to an earlier status board post. "Gmail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future," that update stated. "Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change."
No further details about what caused the problems have yet been announced by Google.
A short time later, at 3:47 p.m., Google sent an email update to eWEEK saying that "Most of the issues with Google services have been resolved."
Some users who tried to use their Gmail accounts during the outage received Server 500 Error messages, and had to try to resend their messages later.
A Jan. 24 report from CBS MarketWatch said that some Gmail users "were greeted Friday by the message: 'Your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes.'"
By about 2:52 p.m. ET, the Google service disruptions appeared to be easing and dissipating, according to an article by TechCrunch, which also said that the reports of disruptions had been seen from as far away as Europe, India and Canada.
Google competitor Yahoo even took advantage of the Google glitches by posting its own advisories about the Google outages on Twitter. "Gmail is temporarily unavailable pic.twitter.com/KLNxcQ9zUP," posted the Yahoo team.
A short while later, the Yahoo team posted an update once the Google service disruptions were easing. "Gmail was temporarily unavailable but now appears to be working again," the post noted.
Google has certainly faced similar service problems in the past. In September 2013, the company apologized to users when Gmail services suffered a slowdown of up to 10 hours due to what it called a dual network failure at the time. The slowdowns during that incident were caused by what Google described as a rare two-pronged failure in the company's network architecture. The disruption occurred when two separate, redundant network paths stopped working at the same time.
Google's Gmail, now in its 10th year, launched April 1, 2004.