Gmail Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

Gmail suffered its second large outage in a little over a month after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) reported that about 0.11 percent of the users of its email service experienced login issues lasting almost three hours this morning.

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“If you’re seeing a ‘Temporary Error’ message when you try to sign in to Gmail, it means that your mail is temporarily unavailable,” the error message read. “These errors generally resolve themselves within a few minutes, so please wait a bit before trying to log in again. Please note that while Gmail is inaccessible, your messages and personal information are safe.”

Going by Gmail’s self-reported user base of 350 million people, the 0.11 figure represents almost 400,000 people without access to their accounts for that time. According to the Google Apps Status Dashboard, the company started investigating the outage at 9:20 a.m. ET and issued two additional updates before announcing at 11:50 a.m. ET that the problem had been resolved.

“The problem with Google Mail should be resolved,” the last update read. “We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. If you are still experiencing an issue, please contact us via the Google Help Center.”

As in April, affected Gmail users turned to Twitter, with activity around the term “Gmail down” appearing to peak around 10 a.m. ET.

Google has been fairly aggressive in selling Gmail to businesses over the last few years and has added features such as two-step email authentication and the ability for administrators to lock down email access for specific users. Google has also released tools to make it easier for enterprises to migrate from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Exchange to Google Apps. However, achieving an uptime that’s as close to 100 percent as possible will be the big challenge. Google had reported its Google Apps service achieved 99.984 uptime in 2011, equating to less than five minutes of downtime on average per month.

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