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Gmail, Google apps hit by service disruption

Google has restored service to a number of key apps, including Gmail and Google Drive. 

By Matthew Shaer / April 17, 2013

Google's Gmail went offline for a small number of users earlier this morning.

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After a short outage earlier this morning, Google has restored service to a number of key apps, including Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Spreadsheets

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The extent of the black-out was far from sweeping – Google has estimated, for instance, that "less than 0.007 percent of the Google Mail user base" was affected. Still, news of the problems, which started around 9 a.m. and continued until 10:50 a.m., echoed across Twitter and Facebook, as scores of frustrated users attempted to sign into their e-mail accounts or access cloud-stored documents. 

"[F]or everyone who is affected, we apologize," Google said today in a statement issued to PC Magazine. "We know you count on Google to work for you and we're working hard to restore normal operation for you." The company has not yet specified what caused the outage, although Google Drive was hit by a similar problem in March. 

It's worth noting, as more and more people choose to store their documents online – instead of simply stashing them away on their hard drive – that we're likely to see more disruptions in coming months. We're also likely to see more alarmism among cloud skeptics such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who predicted last year that the shift to the cloud was going to produce a "a lot of horrible problems" for users. 

"I want to feel that I own things," Wozniak said, according to the AFP. "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

In related news, on February 22, Microsoft's cloud storage service, Azure, went completely dark, an issue that Microsoft later blamed on a "breakdown in procedures." The Redmond giant has promised to "continue to review the system and address any single points of failure."

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