I use Gmail as my primary personal e-mail address. There's a lot to like about the service and the price is certainly right. But Google has yet to demonstrate that Gmail is anywhere close to being a viable alternative for business use. The latest evidence to support this contention comes from ZDNet UK in which Ingrid Marson writes:
"Google admitted that some users may experience short-term errors with Gmail, but did not comment on its support staff response time.
"As we make updates to improve and enhance Gmail, some users may see error messages and experience short periods of inaccessibility. These errors are neither persistent nor pervasive, but we take all issues very seriously and resolve them as quickly as possible," said the firm.
"In very rare instances, a user's account may undergo maintenance due to a specific technical issue that requires personal engineering attention. In these cases, the user is notified at the time of sign in, and the support team continually communicates with the user as updates are made. The timeframe to correct the issue may take as long as a number of days, depending on the situation."
I understand that Gmail is a free service. And that any expectation of a high level of QOS is optimism on a grand scale when you pay only with your potential attention to ads scattered about your e-mail window. But these problems have plagued Gmail since its inception and, in my experience, are more frequent and common than with Yahoo! Mail, AOL's new and improved web mail, or even Microsoft's HotMail/Windows Live Mail.
The diference between Gmail and these competitors is that no one is seriously talking about Yahoo! or AOL replacing Outlook yet I hear that crazy talk about Gmail all too often. I've said it before and will undoubtedly say it again -- Google has yet to demonstrate sufficient reliability with their web-based e-mail application to demonstrate they have the provisioning and support skills necessary to be disruptive to the status quo in anything but the free-for-the-asking segment of the market.
"A number of days" without access to e-mail sounds like a business disaster waiting to happen. Gmail is just not ready for business prime time.