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Gmail outage hits 'small subset of users'

The latest in a series of outages hits Google's e-mail service. This problem doesn't appear as widespread as the one earlier this month.

Gmail was unavailable Thursday morning for what Google said was a "small subset of users," the latest outage from a company that prides itself in running advanced computing systems.

On the Google Apps status dashboard, the company said at 7:29 a.m. PDT that it was aware of the problem. However, using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) to access e-mail through software such as Outlook or Thunderbird still works, the company said.

Even a small subset can be a lot of people, though, as carping on Twitter indicates.

Gmail outages hit Google itself sometimes, providing extra incentive to improve reliability. One company spokesman, Adam Kovacevich, said on Twitter, "Gmail down (for Googlers too)."

Google had Gmail outages in February, April, and very widely on September 1.

Gmail was working for me Thursday morning, but slowly and without access to my contacts at 8 a.m. PDT. By 8:13 a.m., it was behaving properly.

Updated 9:15 a.m. PDT - Many users are reporting that their e-mail is back to normal, but there are still problems with Gmail contacts. Google posted the following advisory at 8:29 a.m. PDT.

"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:"

Updated 9:54 a.m. PDT - Google asked for more time before it feels ready to declare an all-clear. "We are continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update by September 24, 2009 10:30:00 AM UTC-7 detailing when we expect to resolve the problem."

Updated 10:10 a.m. PDT - It's now safe to return to your computer, according to Google. "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support."

Tom Krazit contributed to this report.

The Google Apps status dashboard flagged the Gmail problem Thursday morning.
The Google Apps status dashboard flagged the Gmail problem Thursday morning. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET