San Francisco: Several Google Web products, including the popular GMail service, appeared to go dark for users on several continents on Monday. Google confirmed that "service disruptions" had affected GMail and Google Drive, its online storage service. The two products are part of Google's Apps suite, a Microsoft Office rival that caters to both consumers and businesses.
By 10:10 AM Pacific Time (11:40 PM IST), Google's Apps Dashboard monitoring service reported that GMail and Drive service had resumed. The company did not specify how many users were affected, or where, but the outage prompted widespread complaints on social media on both coasts in the US and other major markets, from the United Kingdom to India.
In a updated posted on Google's App Dashboard at 11:37 AM Pacific Time (Tuesday 12:37 AM IST), Google elaborated on the issue without revealing specific details, "On Monday, 10 December 2012, we experienced an issue with Gmail and some users experienced slow performance or errors. For everyone who was affected, we apologize - we know you count on Google to work for you, and we worked hard to restore normal operation for you. Although our engineering team is still fully engaged on investigation, we are confident we have established the root cause of the event and corrected it. Our current best estimate is that a significant subset of users' Gmail web queries were affected for an aggregate of 18 minutes, from ~08:54 - ~09:00 and then from ~09:04 - ~09:16 Pacific Time."
Some users additionally reported that the outage had affected Google Docs, the company's word-processing and spreadsheet programs, while Chrome, Google's Internet browser, also crashed unexpectedly.
"We are currently experiencing an issue with some Google services," Google spokeswoman Andrea Freund said in a statement. "For everyone who is affected, we apologise for any inconvenience you may be experiencing."
Firmly entrenched in the consumer market, GMail is one of Google's most popular and important product offerings. The search giant, which has been pushing a corporate version of the email service and its Apps suite to businesses to compete with Microsoft, said this month that the package will no longer be free to business customers.
(With inputs from Reuters)