Many Gmail users encountered problems in downloading attachments and sending/receiving emails yesterday (September 23). The culprit is a bug that affected almost half of the 425 million active worldwide users of the Webmail service.
Google initially acknowledged the problem by 10:30 in the morning, Eastern Time in the US. Through its Google Apps Status Webpage, the Internet firm said it has discovered the issue and has already started working to address it. By 2:00 in the afternoon, Gmail was still not fully normalized but the company admitted that ‘less than half’ of all its users were affected.
By 4:00 in the afternoon, Google announced that Gmail service had already been successfully restored for most of those who were affected by the bug. It said it could fully resolve the issue in three hours, or by 7:00 in the evening. That was because it had to clear the remaining delivery backlog in the system.
Google Docs and Presentation
At the same time, cloud applications Google Docs and Presentation were also disrupted from 10:30 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. The company did not offer any explanation about the problem that caused service disruptions. It also refused to give an estimate of total affected users.
Google Docs is the company’s word processing application. On the other hand, Presentation is a slide creation app. Both services could be accessed and used through Gmail accounts.
Significant setback amid competition
The service disruption that affected numerous Gmail users lasted more than eight hours. It became a significant setback for the Webmail service because it not just lasted long; it affected almost 50% of its users. This could be a big blow to the company, who has been trying to protect the strength of its Gmail service amid the rise of competition.
Gmail is currently competing head on with Microsoft’s Office 365. The service disruption affected not just individuals who use Gmail for free but also some users of Google Apps suite, which is not offered for free. Most of the affected parties turned to Twitter and other online forums to ventilate their frustrations.
As of now, it is assumed that Gmail as well as its cloud applications are already fully restored and operational. Google Inc has not yet released any additional explanation about the problem and its impact to the Google services community.