Gmail knocked offline for ‘majority’ of users

gmailGoogle Inc.’s Gmail service was knocked offline Tuesday in an outage that the company said affected a “majority” of its millions of e-mail users, including consumers who get Gmail for free and businesses that pay for a version for their employees.

The disruption, which lasted under two hours, was a reminder of the growing dependence on Google’s technology. The free version of Gmail is the world’s third most-popular e-mail program with some 149 million users worldwide in June, ranking behind the free e-mail services offered by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., according to data from comScore Inc.

Tuesday’s disruption led tens of millions of Gmail users to get an “Unable to reach Gmail” error message as their computers tried repeatedly to reconnect to the service. Google said it had taken some of Gmail’s servers offline for routine maintenance, and underestimated the load that would place on other computers responsible for directing traffic to the appropriate Gmail servers.

Google said it was alerted to the failures within seconds. It said it has added capacity and made other changes to prevent similar incidents in the future. A separate outage on Monday had wiped out e-mail to a “small subset” of users.

Though occasional disruptions are common, widespread outages involving Google’s services are rare. They are becoming a bigger threat to Google as it tries to sell more of its services to businesses.

Businesses are increasingly leaning on Google’s services because they are delivered over the Internet instead of being managed in-house. That can save companies money and buy them more storage than they could otherwise afford. But many corporations are skeptical about outsourcing such critical tasks.

Google argues that Web-based services are more reliable than those handled in-house, but big outages like Tuesday’s add another challenge to selling to reluctant businesses.

Google says more than 1.75 million businesses use Gmail as part of Google Apps, which is Google’s answer to business software from Microsoft Corp. It’s a key part of Google’s strategy to inject its brand deeper into corporations. Google Apps costs $50 per user per year.

As usually happens with hiccups in popular Web-based services, the Gmail glitch touched off a flurry of posts to social-networking Web sites from frustrated Gmail users wondering if others were having the same problem.

“Omg thank God I was at work!!! I wouldve gone mad!” one Twitter user wrote. Some favored snark. “Minute 30 of Gmail outage. The cities are in flames and people eating pets to survive. To future generations: we meant well,” another user tweeted.

The last major outage at Google happened in May, when millions of people were cut off from Google’s search engine, e-mail and other online services after too much traffic was routed through computers in Asia. About 14 percent of Google’s users encountered problems with the Internet’s No. 1 search engine. Those outages lasted about an hour.

Computing

An IP address vulnerability took down some Google services for 1 hour

It might have been for just a brief hour, but some of Google's services went down on November 12. Caused by an improper rerouting of IP addresses and traffic away from usual western sources, Spotify and Google Cloud were impacted.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Computing

Cloudflare’s privacy-enhancing 1.1.1.1 DNS service comes to iOS and Android

Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver service has been ported to mobile devices, and now anyone with an Android or iOS device can download it for free to take advantage of its speed and privacy-boosting features.
Computing

Want to use one drive between a Mac and Windows PC? Partitions are your best bet

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.
Computing

Microsoft turns on the lights with a new white theme in Windows 10 update

Microsoft is introducing a new light theme in the upcoming version of Windows 10 and is currently beta testing the change with Windows Insiders. The clean-looking theme brings a much-needed facelift to Windows.
Computing

Four Andromeda-related Microsoft patents hint at new ways to use the device

Andromeda might be getting even more real as four Microsoft patents have surfaced recently, all of which hint at possible new use cases and other new configurations for the device. 
Computing

Here's why 64-bit (not 32-bit) dominates modern computing

Today's computing world isn't the same as it once was. With 64-bit processors and operating systems replacing the older 32-bit designs, we look at what 32-bit vs. 64-bit really means for you.
Computing

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Computing

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Computing

Our 10 favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Computing

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.