Gmail is not feeling well today. I know because it's the talk of Twitter. I know because an old Technologizer story happens to be Google's first result for "gmail down." Most of all, I know because both my primary work and personal e-mail accounts are on Gmail, and both are giving me an ugly Server Error right now.
I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but it continues as I write this, and it's not a momentary blip-it's an extended outage that appears to be affecting much if not all of Gmail's users. I'm engaging in a little self-flagellation at the moment, since I've placed so much trust in Gmail (despite prior evidence it's not perfect) that I don't even use its IMAP capabilities to download mail via a traditional client. When Gmail's not available, neither is my mail. (And important stuff it contains, such as the dial-in info for a conference call I'm supposed to be joining shortly.)
Sweeping Gmail blackouts remain relative rarities, but I've been increasingly frustrated with the service's reliability recently. It often conks out on me temporarily, or behaves so slowly that it might as well be unavailable-and while the cause remains mysterious, I've experienced the same symptoms on multiple browsers on different PCs on a variety of networks.
Just this morning, I was soberly considering whether it was time to regretfully move on to something I might find less flaky. I'm still thinking that over, but today's meltdown has convinced me that at the very least I need to be downloading my messages. I'm a mostly-happy Google freeloader, but the Gmail I've been using of late simply isn't reliable enough to run a business on.
Final note: Google has blogged about the downtime, and says that if you’ve already set up POP or IMAP access it should continue to work. It also says it’s looking into what’s going on and hopes to have more news soon. Once everything’s fixed, I hope very much that it errs on the side of telling us exactly what happened, even if it’s dry and technical…
This story, "Down and Out With Gmail" was originally published by PC-World-India.