San Francisco: Google on Tuesday was scrambling to figure out what caused Gmail to crash, leaving millions of people worldwide without access to the free Web-based email service for a few hours.
“We’re actively investigating the source of the issue and will share more information with our users as soon as we have it,” said Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs.
Gmail became what was referred to in online chat forums as “Gfail” at approximately 0930 GMT and remained inoperative for two-and-a-half hours.
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“We know that for many of you this disrupted your working day,” Gmail site reliability manager Acacio Cruz wrote in a posting at the California Internet titan’s website.
“We’re really sorry about this, and we did do everything to restore access as soon as we could. Obviously we’re never happy when outages occur, but we would like to stress that this is an unusual occurrence.”
Gmail service was reportedly disrupted for an estimated 113 million users in Europe, Asia, the United States and elsewhere.
Quick-thinking porn-peddlers capitalized on the situation by creating a Gmail user group titled “Gmail Down” that displayed sex pictures and videos to people that went searching for information about the problem.
Gmail service crashed a couple of times last year but had operated uninterrupted since it was bolstered with features that include people being able to draft and read messages offline.
To make amends for the apparent computer server problem on Tuesday, Google is extending by 15 days the subscriptions of users that pay for Google Apps Premier editions of Gmail designed for businesses.
Google sparked online panic last month when a glitch temporarily prevented users from visiting any websites in search results.