Gmail, the world's third largest email provider and owned by Google, has been hit on Thursday afternoon by a massive outage that left many users without email access for a couple of hours.
Google has yet to apologise officially for the latest snafu to affect its users; the official Google blog as well as the Gmail blog remain desperately empty of any post related to the downtime.
A spokesperson for Google told Internetnews.com in an email that "A problem with Google Contacts caused many Gmail users to experience slowness and degraded service for about an hour today".
According to the Apps Status Dashboard, the disruption lasted two and a half hours and affected both Gmail and Google Apps users. In any case, Google says that only a "small subset of users" were affected.
Occasionally, Gmail became slow before either displaying a 503 temporary server error or a message saying that there has been an issue with the message. Earlier this month, Google had to release an apology over a similar incident that left many users reeling
It is the fourth time this year that Gmail has been hit by technical errors and comes at a critical time when many are considering moving to web apps to simplify management and reduce administration costs.
Like many Small and Medium businesses, we rely on Google Mail and other Google applications on a daily basis. The fact that Gmail failed twice already this year as Google tries to convince people that Cloud Computing and web apps are the next big thing is not good news.