Google Apologizes for Last Week's GMail Glitch

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has said sorry to users of its Gmail service after they were left without access to their emails for almost two hours early last week.

The firm made a rare apology on its official blog after the outage, saying "The issue was caused by a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly." (Source:

There has been some speculation the problem may be connected with a recent change to Gmail's contacts system, designed to separate contacts users have manually added from those which are created automatically when you send or receive a message to or from a new address. (Source:

Todd Jackson, the man in charge of Gmail, added "We've identified the source of this issue and fixed it. In addition, as with all issues that affect Gmail and our other services, we're conducting a full review of what went wrong and moving quickly to update our internal systems and procedures accordingly."

As a web-based service, a service blip such as this is much more serious. That's because all messages are stored online, so not only can customers not send and receive new messages, they can't check old messages either.

Unlike Apple's recent outage it appears that, while there may be some temporary delays sending messages, no messages should be lost.

There are an estimated 100 million Gmail customers, around 20% of whom visit the site every day.

As a Gmail user myself, it's only fair to point out this is the first time I've ever experienced any difficulties with the service. However, such problems, as rare as they are, come across as far more significant than they really are. As with all web-based email, there's always a fear at the back of your mind that you might lose access to your messages. The strong reputation and reliability of Google helps overcome this -- except when there's a problem.

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