Over 100 million people around the world were left without email services as Google’s free mail service Gmail collapsed for more than two hours.
Users attempting to access their email accounts were met with a “502 server error” message. While the overnight outage wasn’t too much of a problem for Australians, users in Britain and other parts of Europe had their email accounts disrupted between 9.30am and noon.
Several businesses have replaced their desktop email programs with Gmail in order to cut costs, but were met with frustration as millions of users were unable to send or receive email.
Two major media companies in Britain, Telegraph Media Group and The Guardian, have switched completely to the Google apps suite and were unable to communicate via email for several hours.
Gmail site reliability manager Acacio Cruz wrote on the company’s official blog that the issue had been fixed, but that “engineers are still investigating the root cause of the problem”.
“The Gmail outage that affected many consumers and Google apps users worldwide is now over,” he said. “We know that for many of you this disrupted your working day. We’re really sorry about this, and we did do everything to restore access as soon as we could.
“Obviously we’re never happy when outages occur, but we would like to stress that this is an unusual occurrence.” To make amends, Google is extending the subscriptions of businesses which use the Google applications suite by 15 days.
Pornography sites have pounced on the glitch as an opportunity. A number of sites created a Gmail user group titled “Gmail Down” that displayed pornographic images and videos, seen by users searching for information on the problem.