Google Gmail outage leaves 150,000 users without e-mail

Google engineers say they're working to fix the problem; some accounts back

About 150,000 of Google's Gmail users woke up Sunday morning to missing e-mails, contacts and chat histories.

Google engineers noted on the Apps Status Dashboard at 10:40 p.m. EST Sunday night that e-mail services were restored to "some" users and that they expect to fix the problem for everyone in the "near future." They were not, however, specific as to how many users had their Gmail services restored and how soon everyone else should expect to get their services back.

As of noon today, there had been no further updates.

One user looking for help on Google 's Help Forum , wrote, "Don't scare me I have 4 years worth of eMail on that!!!!!!!!"

While many users complained that they were missing key parts of their Gmail service, which inlcudes e-mail, chats, contacts, folders and settings, some reported that their accounts appeared to have been reset so they appeared to be brand new.

Google first acknowledged the problem on its Apps Status Dashboard Sunday at 3:09 p.m. EST. Several hours later, Google engineers reported that the issue was affecting less than 0.08 per cent of its Gmail users.

Then at 8:02 p.m., engineers noted, "Google engineers are working to restore full access. Affected users may be temporarily unable to sign in while we repair their accounts."

This kind of outage could very well affect Google and its efforts to work its way into the enterprise market .

"This will slow their momentum in selling Gmail into enterprises," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "I don't think it will much affect the cloud , in general, except to give every competitor an opportunity to explain why it couldn't happen to them."

Gottheil added that the episode will add to executives' fears about trusting their critical e-mail to the cloud.

"While I believe most other e-mail systems have outages, this cuts to the heart of enterprises' fear about cloud solutions," Gottheil said. "A difficult on-premise problem feels more controllable than a remote one."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

Read more about cloud computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.

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