Google suffering from widespread Gmail service disruption

Google is currently working to resolve a widespread Gmail issue, with many taking to social media sites to vent their frustrations.

Users have been quick to report on Twitter that Google's hosted email service is suffering from widespread disruption.

Google's Dashboard, the service which displays the health of the Google's online services, shows that Gmail for Google Apps is currently suffering a "service outage", adding:

"Google Mail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change."

Some users are reporting that pages simply will not load, with others receiving "Error 718" messages when they access their account. The error suggests a server-side error, according to Google's help forums.

According to the company, "Google is currently investigating" an issue with the email service, which started around 11:40 am PT.

It is not clear what is causing the disruption, or whether the adverse weather in the United States is a resulting factor.

Google Apps is separate from the consumer Gmail version, and reserved for organisations and businesses with a paid subscription to the service.

At 1:10 pm PT, Google's status pages updated to show that though the disruption continues, some users now have access to their email accounts.

The search giant only recently reported that its Google Apps service achieved 99.984 uptime this year, equating to less than five minutes of downtime on average per month.

This came only a few days after UK advertising authorities began an investigation into the claims Microsoft made over its cloud services, which had faltered numerous times, leaving many Office 365 customers without email or communications for periods of half-days at a time.

Update: Google has updated the Dashboard to confirm that the short-lived outage has now ended:

"The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. 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."

Google was unable to explain what had caused the outage at this stage.