A small percentage of people have been without their Gmail accounts since Sunday.
Imagine if you lost your entire email inbox, sent box, folders –everything.
A small number of Gmail users logged into their accounts over the weekend to find just that.
Immediately, Google (GOOG) support forums started filling up and Google's App Status dashboard issued the ominous warning, "We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly." Initially, the outage was said to have affected .29% of global Gmail users.
That was at 3:00 ET. Sunday. Since then Google has issued numerous updates including a revised downward estimate of .08% of all Gmail users affected – which comes out to about 150,000 users world wide. In the grand scheme of things, that is very few, unless you are with out email today.
Affected user email accounts are being taken offline until they can be restored and users aren't likely able to log in.
These high publicity outages are certainly bad for the users who are affected, but they are much worse for Google's greater reputation for uptime and reliability. Its Apps services for businesses rely on a good reputation of uptime, which Google often points to when comparing other online mail options.
In 2010, Gmail specifically achieved a 99.984 percent uptime rate both for consumers and professionals who use it as part of Apps, Google said.
99.984 percent translates to seven minutes of downtime per month over the last year. That seven-minute average represents the accumulation of small delays of a few seconds, and most people experienced no issues at all. For those few who were disrupted for a longer period of time, we're very sorry, and Google Apps for Business customers received compensation where appropriate. We're particularly pleased with this level of reliability since it was accomplished without any planned downtime while launching 30 new features and adding tens of millions of active users
For those affected, those words mean little. They are looking for the "resolved" message here.
Update: a Google spokesperson has told us that:
We now have a better understanding of the impact of this issue, and we have lowered our estimate of the number of affected Gmail users from 0.08% to 0.02%. We have restored access for a third of those affected. The remaining 0.013% of accounts are being restored on an ongoing basis, and we expect the issue to be resolved for everyone within 12 hours. We're very sorry for the inconvenience caused.
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