Gmail unreliable?

Gmail unreliable?

Summary: Lately I've been getting errors or slow performance accessing my Gmail account. A little digging shows that I'm not alone.


Lately I've been getting errors or slow performance accessing my Gmail account. A little digging shows that I'm not alone. In fact there's a whole Google group called "Gmail down". Here's the error I'm getting today:

The dreaded error code 766

Searching the Google help center for "error code 766" returns no hits. But the error is familiar to many users of the service. Mysterious errors codes such as 600 and 704 have also been reported. It looks like there was a spate of these errors in July, but I can find references to problems going back to last year.

Gmail has a wonderful interface, and provides tons of space, so I'm usually a big fan. I know it's a free service, and marked as being in beta, but email communication is important. If Gmail can't be relied upon then maybe it's time to look at some of the alternatives.

Topic: Software Development

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • I get the same error

    I have been getting the same error lately.
  • No problems here...

    I rely heavily on GMail (despite it's beta status), and haven't had any such problems.
    • Gmail unreliable?

      I use gmail regularly and yes I got the message a number of times particularly this July. So what? They had the decency of identifying the problem as a Google error. I did not have to waste time checking my connection, tracerouting, pinging etc...Anyway I'd just try again in a couple of minutes and it works fine. Hell...Its also free with over 2G storage. Try going over 2G on an outlook pst file!!! :) Guess some people have it in them to whinge 'bout anything under the sun
    • No problems here

      Same here -- no problems in months.

      But I have to admit -- I love the new interface to the Yahoo beta mail MUCH better than Gmail.
  • Is getting errors a proof of unreliability?

    I have to wonder at this kind of attitude toward a product. I got an error hence its unreliable.
    I would have to argue that at least you did get an error and, oh lets see, not a blue screen. Or simply no reply, or a timeout.
    Software products have bugs, at least in this case the vendor is being open about the fact that its a beta version of the software.
    Lets see some years back I believe most of us were complaining that Windows was crappy, yet it is still around and it was never dubbed a beta, and you had to pay for it.
    Has criticism become so cheap in the age of the blog? I have to argue that at least google's software has determined that something was wrong with it and provided you with an error code for it. I know of many solutions much more critical than e-mail that will just crash on you without further ado.
    • Error better than crashing but...

      An error message is certainly better than crashing but the fact remains that have been periods where people can't access their mail, like I experienced yesterday. In July the outage lasted 2-3 days for some people. I don't know about you but my inbox is like my todo list. When it's down I'm limited in what I can get done.
      Ed Burnette
    • Being unreliable is proof of unreliability

      Your caustic criticism ignores the definition of unreliable: if you can't rely on it, it's unreliable. Whether it toasts your hard drive or not has nothing to do with the fact that the author cannot be assured GMail will function when he needs it. I think the blog was completely relevant.
    • Errors and unreliability

      Well, if something tends to be not working at the time we need it - it is unreliable. And it doesn't matter whether it provides you with an error code or not, as this code won't make it work again.
      I believe the message was clear - there are times when some users cannot access their correspondence, and this can affect something vital to them. Whether this is true or not - this is the only question that can be asked, and, no matter how dearly one loves the gmail service, if this is true...
  • GMail

    Last week it thrashed my password. Couldn't see the calendar or the e-mail.

    After resetting the pw three times I was able to access my information. Pretty exciting, but not in a happy way.

    Not for mission critical use; heck, they call it a beta!
  • Good performance for free

    I only had one incident of such an error message in over a year. Simply logging in again was enough for it to disappear. I presumed it was just a transient problem - after all these servers are handling LOTS of requests and there has to be occasional hardware failure of a limit to the number of transactions.

    Performs much better than my normal ISP email ;-)
  • gmail unreliable? oh yezz

    I often get "try again" almost daily even.
    I have a 5Mb dsl connection I suspect is involved.
    HOWEVER I've also gotten several emails that were dated two or three days earlier and I am positive they were not in my inbox as I clear it of unread mail daily.

    That really concerns me, so I have important emails go to two different services.
  • Dunno How long is it going to remain Free???

    What is this BETA tag for.
    Does this mean that after some time google switches off the beta tag, and starts asking users to pay?
    One is concerned.
    • Forever?

      As far as I know, all of Google's applications have had public betas.

      They will not charge for Gmail or any of their other services (other than premium content such as certain types of Googe Earth). Google makes most of their money from advertising, which seems to be doing quite well for them. Although you won't have to pay for it, you'll have to keep putting up with the ads on the page.
      • Ads as entertainment

        I find some of the ads Gmail chooses to be entertaining, don't you? My favorites are when an ad for a competitor's product comes up (obviously they bought keywords for their competitors), or when something wildly inappropriate is picked due to some bulk matching ('Find ... on ebay!'). It's amazing what they sell on ebay these days; what did ebay do, buy every word in the dictionary?
        Ed Burnette
        • LOL - yep!

          I noticed one time in an email discussion of my company with a friend, there were several ads pertaining to "transvestites". Other than having the letters T, S, & R in our initials, I haven't a clue where they were coming up with that subject.
    • Make your own mail server

      Use Spam Assassin in making it if it does.
    • And Your Point Would Be?

      Same is true of Hotmail.
      Are you suggesting that one would be better off using a paid service today rather than a free one because the free service might become a paid service in the future? Curious.
  • No problems, great alerts

    I have never had any problems with my GMail account, I access it many times a day, as I use the Google Alerts as well - so I receive alerts throughout the day.
    Great service for me, and totally reliable. Maybe I am lucky, none of my other mail accounts has been as reliable.
    • Google alerts are awesome

      I agree with you on Google alerts. Basically it's a canned Google search query that sends you email if something new shows up that matches the query. Here's an example I find useful: "(java OR jsp OR j2ee) AND eclipse -indonesia -coffee" .
      Ed Burnette
  • Beta

    I've heard similar complaints, though I've never encountered the error myself. This is obviously one of the reasons Google still has it in beta.