Gmail goes dark for hours

Can they fix it? Yes, they can

Can they fix it? Yes, they can

Business and personal users of Gmail suffered a service outage this morning.

Acacio Cruz, Google's Gmail site reliability manager, said in a blog posting: "If you've tried to access your Gmail account today, you are probably aware by now that we're having some problems. Shortly after 9:30am GMT our monitoring systems alerted us that Gmail consumer and businesses accounts worldwide could not get access to their email.

"We're working very hard to solve the problem and we're really sorry for the inconvenience."

The outage, which affected "many" users, according to Google, is now resolved and access has been restored.

Google promises that customers paying for the Google Apps service will have access to Gmail at least 99.9 per cent of the time each month or Google has to pay a penalty. So far Google hasn't dipped below that, the company said last year.

The company took advantage of the problem to tout the new Gmail Labs feature that permits offline access to Gmail for customers in the US and UK. With it, people can read, search, label and archive their email and compose new messages, but of course messages aren't sent or received until network access is restored.

Outages pose problems for Google as it tries to persuade companies to buy into its cloud computing vision, in which applications are hosted on the internet rather than on corporate computers. Google however argues its service availability is competitive with most organisations' abilities to run their own email servers.