Official Gmail Blog Not For Posting About Gmail Problems

Posted on August 11, 2008

Google's popular Gmail email website went down for a couple hours earlier today and TechCrunch noted that Google hadn't even posted anything yet on the Official Gmail Blog.

Since that post from TechCrunch, Google has made a post on the Official Gmail Blog. However, the post says the Official Gmail Blog is not generally used for posting about problems and that people should use the Gmail Support the Gmail user group instead of the blog for information.

Many of you had trouble accessing Gmail for a couple of hours this afternoon, and we're really sorry. The issue was caused by a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly. Everything should be back to normal by the time you read this.

We heard loud and clear today how much people care about their Gmail accounts. We followed all the emails to our support team and user group, we fielded phone calls from Google Apps customers and friends, and we saw the many Twitter posts. (We also heard from plenty of Googlers, who use Gmail for company email.) We never take for granted the commitment we've made to running an email service that you can count on.

We've identified the source of this issue and fixed it. In addition, as with all issues that affect Gmail and our other services, we're conducting a full review of what went wrong and moving quickly to update our internal systems and procedures accordingly. We don't usually post about problems like this on our blog, but we wanted to make an exception in this case since so many people were impacted. In general, though, if you spot a problem with your Gmail account, please visit the Gmail Help Center and user group, where the Gmail Guides are your fastest source of updates.

Online software products and services really should have a status blog. Twitter has made good use of its status blog. On the other hand, MobileMe has not been doing a good job of updating its status blog. Web services not only need a status blog but they need to keep it updated as promised. It doesn't really make sense for Google to have an Official Gmail Blog and then not intend to use it for serious outages. They did use it in this case but it doesn't sound like they plan to make a habit of reporting problems on the blog.

Twitterers were as usual active about the outage. Webware notes that there were dozens of tweets per second about the Gmail outage during its peek.

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