Gmail up and running after giving users hard time

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NEW DELHI - Thousands of tweets and hours later, the Gmail malfunction that led to hue and cry in the Internet community Tuesday seems to have been resolved - more or less.

‘A number of users have had difficulty accessing Gmail today. The majority are now able to access their email accounts again and we’re hoping to have service restored for the remainder very soon. We know how important Gmail is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologise for the inconvenience,’ Google posted on its blog.

Google’s popular email service, Gmail, went offline at around 2 p.m. Tuesday, affecting users across the world.

Although this wasn’t the first time Gmail malfunctioned, Tuesday’s incident was probably the most talked about and seemed to have affected a far larger user base than any of the incidents earlier.

Google has refrained from commenting on the nature and cause of the problem, even as the twitter tag on the Gmail problem had hosts of users commenting on what could have possibly triggered the snag.

Users even began calculating the direct economic fallout of the incident.

‘Let’s count the cost: 25m users, 33 percent affected; average of $50 per hour lost productivity = $415m per hour economic cost…’ a user posted on the twitter thread.

Gmail, which was started off in 2004 as a strictly by-invitation-only beta version, revolutionised the email business by offering a then unheard of 1 Gb storage space.

The service has since garnered a strong 110 million-user base. Prior to Gmail, email providers on the Internet offered a meagre 2-10 mb of email storage space for free email users.

Google remains the most popular website on the Internet with over 150,000 unique visitors — first-time users — browsing the network sites in January alone.

Tuesday’s incident reflects how dependent people have become on the Net, specially on Google for its wide array of services, which have expanded over the years from plain search to Internet browser, a very profitable advertising business, and then to mobile phone operating system.

A human error at Google’s end late last month brought Internet search to a virtual standstill, with every search query returning with a malware warning.

Then also, like Tuesday’s incident, the Internet community went into a tizzy sending frenzied messages on blogs and other socially-generated media.

Filed under: Browser, Gmail, Google, India, Twitter

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