From Gmail to Gfail as Google’s email services go down around the world

Australian users of Gmail were among those hit when the service failed for about two and a half hours last night.  

Although the effects of the outage on business in Australia were reduced because of the timing – it happened at about 8.30pm AEST – the event has already sparked debate around the world about the future of cloud computing.

Google has been steadily building a case for users to let it do much of the work previously done by their PCs, and now offers a suite of remote applications including gmail, spreadsheets and collaborative documents.

Some large businesses have already switched their email and other applications to Google. It was reported overnight that two of Britain’s biggest media organisations – the Telegraph Media Group and the Guardian Media Group – lost their services during what were peak business hours in the UK. The Guardian described the incident as “calamity in cloudland“.

The scale of the outage is embarrasing for Google, which has generally enjoyed an excellent reputation for reliability, despite last month’s glitch when it accidentally labelled the content of the entire internet as dangerous. But this morning, one of the most used phrases on Twitter is “gfail“.

Google’s Gmail blog this morning carried a message saying:

“Gmail had a major outage early this morning: for about two and a half hours starting at 1:30 am PST while many of our users in the US were asleep, many people couldn’t access their email. Lots of people around the world who rely on Gmail were disrupted during their waking and working hours, and we’re very sorry. We did everything we could to restore access as soon as possible, and the issue is now resolved.”

Google’s spokesman in Australia, Rob Shilkin, told Mumbrella: “The problem is now resolved and users have had access restored. We know how important Gmail is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologise for the inconvenience.”


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