We all have faced a situation where one of Google’s services has been hit by a service disruption and it feels like our lives have been disrupted. The over-reliance on some of Google’s services is alarming, but it’s not just the search giant that has become such a vital part of our lives, both virtual and real. Twitter and Facebook, two social network giants, have also faced downtime this month.
While Gmail service has been hit by downtime thrice already this month, including today, Twitter and Facebook also faced service disruptions. In any case, it’s the Gmail downtime that has garnered the most adverse reactions.
More frowning for Gmail users
On May 2, Gmail’s web interface went down, with various users reporting a 502 server error. Similar disruption was seen on May 8, and for a brief while between May 10 and 11 as well. On each occasion, Google’s App Dashboard flashed the same message after fixing the issue. “The problem with Gmail 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.”
After the outage today, Google has issued a statement saying only a fraction of all Gmail users have been affected. “The issue is affecting less than 0.75% of users. The affected users are located in India, Middle East and South East Asia. The errors may appear sporadic and could go away when the page is refreshed.”
In addition, Google’s Postini services also suffered a disruption from May 7 to May 10. In this case, Apps Dashboard told us on an hourly basis about the efforts to fix the issue. The Postini downtime was the one which affected most users, according to Google's report, as outgoing emails were being queued up on the mail servers, while incoming emails were being deferred.
Besides Gmail, users also faced problems this month logging into Facebook and seeing their Twitter timelines. The Facebook issue was resolved in a matter of 90 minutes, while just an hour-long outage for Twitter was enough to make users outraged.
Just goes to show how dependent the general public and businesses have become on few of these services, which, might we add, are still free for use for the most part.