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Gmail suffers a short outage

Google confirms an early-morning outage Friday for the Web-based e-mail service after many users--especially in Europe and Asia--took their complaints to Twitter.

Twitter search results for 'Gmail.' Looks like we have an outage.

Well, this was something nice to wake up to on a Friday morning: No access to my Gmail account. I was greeted with a "Temporary Error (500)" and the message, "We're sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes." Ugh. Thanks, Google.

I went over to Twitter Search to see what other people were saying, and sure enough, a search for "gmail" produced plenty of complaints about outages, with hundreds more rolling in by the minute. Many of them, given the timing (it was about 6 a.m. Eastern time) appeared to be in Europe or Asia.

Some complained that other Google apps were down, too, but I could access the three that I use most often (Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Reader) just fine.

Gmail suffered an outage in February that was big enough for the company to apologize for it; that one, as well as a smaller one in March, took place when it was the middle of the night in the company's Bay Area headquarters. Perhaps this is Google's way of telling people on the East Coast to stop waking up so early.

I'm a free Gmail user, and I'm guessing that so are most of the twitterers airing their grievances. But for paying Gmail customers, Google promises 99.9 percent uptime, or it'll reimburse them to some degree.

Update (3:23 a.m. PT): About a half hour after I originally noticed that my account was down, it's back up (at least for now), but loading very slowly.

Update (4:48 a.m. PT): Google has issued a statement: "A number of our users had difficulty accessing Gmail this morning. The problem was immediately investigated, and service was restored within 20 minutes. We know how important Gmail is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We encourage anyone having technical difficulty to visit the Gmail Discussion Group or the Apps Status Dashboard."