Another Gmail outage: First timed out, then unable to access contacts

By Mihir Patkar Published Date
24 - Sep - 2009
| Last Updated
24 - Sep - 2009
Another Gmail outage: First timed out, then unable to access cont...
Gmail outage
It's almost as if Google was too quick in pulling out that 'Beta' suffix from all its apps. It seems that Google’s popular email service, Gmail, has had yet another outage. After going down for two-and-half hours in February and suffering another down-time earlier this month, Gmail has malfunctioned yet again.
This time, I was actually trying to access the service when it went down: One moment I was in my Inbox, the next thing I knew, there’s a server time-out error. I didn’t note the exact time, but it would be around 8:00 PM Indian Standard Time (IST). After signing out and unsuccessfully trying to sign back in a couple of times, I finally got through, only to see a message that said "Google is temporarily unable to access your Contacts. You may experience issues while this persist."
Gmail Contacts Inaccessible
Thankfully, I didn’t need to send any email at the moment, but you can check out the image gallery below for the screenshot of my completely blank contacts list.
After the last outage, I had the Google Apps dashboard bookmarked, so firing that up showed Google Mail’s status as ‘Service Disruption’.
The detailed message from Google said: "We're aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users. The affected users are unable to access Google Mail, but we've provided a workaround below. We will provide an update by September 24, 2009 8:59:00 PM (IST) detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change."
It’s 9:10:00 PM now and the service is still as unusable as before!
Google did leave a message on the error page stating that apparently, the service is still working via IMAP, so those using email clients should be fine; although I haven’t checked the same yet.
UPDATE 1: The Google Talk service – which was working intermittently for a while – is now down as well. It is inaccessible from the Google Talk client, Google Talk Labs Edition, Digsby and iGoogle.
UPDATE 2: Just checked the Apps Centre page again. They have an update: "Google Mail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users within the next 1 hours. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change. The Gmail issue should now be resolved for most of our users. There still might be issues with your contacts. For Gmail users: Use to access your contacts. For Google Apps Customers:"
UPDATE 3: It's almost 10:00 PM now and the Contacts problem persists. What's more, I'm getting a duplicate inbox whenever I refresh it. So it's a copy of my inbox, on top of my inbox! Weird!
UPDATE 4: GTalk is working intermittently with Digsby now. Still getting timed out a lot, but it logs back in after a while
UPDATE 5: Well, it's all fixed now. The Contacts are back and the error messages are gone. The Google Apps dashboard says: "We are continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update by 11:00 PM." And yes, GTalk is completely fixed as well.
UPDATE 6: It's official. GMail's status icon on the Apps dashboard has changed to 'information available' and the message has been update: "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support."
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Mihir PatkarMihir Patkar