On Friday just before 11 a.m. PST, Google's Gmail went down, leaving millions of users – including business users relying on Google Apps for Business – unable to communicate. The downtime was confirmed with Down Right Now and Google’s App Status Dashboard, which showed that the service is experiencing a service disruption at this time – and that Gmail also burped earlier Friday morning. Google’s official blog for Gmail also returned a 503 error. Gmail’s error is a 500 code problem, indicating it’s only a temporary problem – but doesn’t explain the cause. Judging by the amount of tweets and FB updates about the problem, it’s likely affecting the majority of users worldwide.
In Seattle, Sean Sperte tweeted “This means we can all take the day off, right? #GmailDown“. In Canada, Kirstine Stewart (Head of @TwitterCanada) tweeted “Gmail Down = Adult Snow Day”. Others – like Kat Daemon from New York – clearly couldn’t handle the downtime, as she tweeted “Is Gmail down??? I can’t get in and the anxiety is starting to gnaw at my face.” Even Yahoo (which offers its own email service) tweeted that Gmail was down. As more users around the world tweeted about the downtime Gmail actually became a trending topic on Twitter, indicating the sheer magnitude of the crash.
The last time Gmail went down was September 24, 2013. At that time, Google said the issue affected less than 50 percent of Gmail users, which means almost half of all Gmail users suffered some kind of glitch. Today’s downtown was perhaps one of it’s most serious, though – all of Google crashed on August 19, 2013 - including YouTube, Gmail and the company’s search engine — but only between one to five minutes around 4:30 PDT.
Update: Service was mostly restored to Gmail users around 11:20 a.m. PST, though sending emails still seems to be a problem and Google+ is still down. This means that Gmail users went over a half hour without complete access to Gmail, Google Chat, and Google+. I have reached out to Google for comment and will continue to update this story as it develops.