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Yahoo apologises for tweeting about Gmail downtime

You just can't make a funny in Silicon Valley anymore. At least, not when you're running Yahoo's official Twitter account.

During a nearly hour-long outage on 24 January for both Gmail and Google+ — an unexpected bit of downtime that generated its own Twitter hashtags and at least eight more messages per user regarding one's inability to access Gmail — Yahoo took its own Twitter account to post a helpful update for those unaware about the downtime.

"Gmail is temporarily unavailable," read the tweet. Accompanying it was an image of Google's "Temporary Error (500)" page that awaited anyone trying to type into their browsers.

Funny, right? Bold, if nothing else, given the issues Yahoo recently had regarding the availability of its own mail service. We'd rather take an hour of downtime over a week; just sayin'.

That said, Google's own Twitter account for Gmail remained remarkably silent as the service sat offline, so we'll give Yahoo credit for at least doing its part to keep the tech world informed — or something. At least, that's what Yahoo seems to be suggesting.

"The @Yahoo Twitter handle is used by our editorial team to inform about news and events," read one of Yahoo's tweets posted around 1:30 PT yesterday.

"Earlier today, a tweet that reflected bad judgment was posted and has been deleted. We apologize to @Google and the @Gmail team," read the next tweet after that.

In other words, Yahoo made a funny. It's likely that a corporate overlord at Yahoo took notice, got terrified, and made a frantic call to Yahoo's Twitter team to take down the message immediately.

"A lame, lifeless apology over a non-event, the sort of I'm sorry you issue when your gym teacher forces you to stick out your tiny sticky hand after you tripped someone. It was insincere, of course—and rightfully so, because Yahoo! did nothing wrong," described Valleywag's Sam Biddle.

"No one was offended. No one took umbrage. Yahoo!'s email joke was a tepid ribbing in the middle of the day to entertain bored office workers—nothing more."

As Gigaom's Tom Krazit put it, "Only Yahoo could come out of a Gmail outage looking worse than Google."