Google’s official explanation blames a maintenance miscalculation for the glitch — engineers took some servers offline, it says, and inadvertently overloaded other servers as a result — and promises improvements to ensure the so-called GFail doesn’t happen again. (The Google guys even refer to the incident as a “Big Deal,” with capitalized first letters, so you know they must be serious.)
Despite the reassurance, plenty of people aren’t satisfied. And, looking at the last few months, it’s not hard to understand why.
Gmail seems to have suffered more than its fair share of outages lately. In May, a traffic routing error knocked the service offline for users across the globe, earning the hashtag “#googlefail” on Twitter. That crash came within weeks of several smaller outages, one just days earlier in May, another in mid-April, and another — this one lasting as long as 36 hours for some people — in March.
In the end, despite the well-warranted frustrations, I don’t think anyone foresees any mass Gmail exodus occurring. Some people, however, are certainly starting to think about jumping ship. Will we actually reach the point where that happens on any significant scale? Only time — and Gmail’s future performance — will tell.