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Monday, December 10, 2012

Gmail Goes Down, Office Workers Panic

Some Gmail users had trouble starting the work week Monday.

Google's e-mail service was inaccessible for many users Monday morning, for both personal and business accounts. Google said it was a global service disruption. Chrome, Google's browser, was also crashing in some instances.

Google reported on its site that the problem was resolved by afternoon. But the outage highlights the downside of relying on information stored only in the cloud of the Internet, particularly for businesses that pay to use Google Apps, including Gmail, Docs for word processing and Drive for file storage.

Last week, Google said it would begin charging small businesses, not just big ones, to use Google Apps in the workplace. (On Thursday, the same day it made that announcement, Gmail also crashed.) Businesses pay $50 per employee each year for the services. Google is also betting on cloud-based applications with its Chrome operating system.

But the ease of accessing e-mail and other services from any Internet-connected device quickly becomes a burden when there is a service problem, as Gmail users discovered Monday.

Minutes after Gmail went down, Twitter lit up with posts from people who were frustrated by the outages.

“C'mon @gmail, you're not supposed to crash! Can't get my work done! Error 502??,” wrote one user, by the name of Blairez.

Others fretted about the inability to do work.

Kyle Judah, who runs an education start-up called RecoVend, wrote, “Negative productivity while GMail is down and causing Chrome to crash every few minute s.”

For others, the glitches underscored the degree of dependency on Google for their day-to-day lives.

“Moral: dont put all your emails in one account,” advised one user by the name of GreyGenes.

Still, many were able to keep a sense of humor about the disruption.

“Maybe this is what the Mayans meant about the end of the world?” cracked one Twitter user under the handle Possessionista.

The service disruption was not complete. For some people, Gmail was accessible on smartphones or certain browsers, but not on others, including Google's own Chrome browser.