Gmail service goes down — again

Gmail has crashed several times in recent months.
Gmail is having problems — again.

The popular Web-based e-mail service from Google Inc. has crashed several times in recent months. That’s led to a bit of anger, and sarcastic sighs of despair, on tech blogs and on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Google posted a note Thursday morning saying it is aware that some people are experiencing an e-mail outage. The Mountain View, California, company did not offer an explanation in the post or immediately return a request for comment. “We’re aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a small subset of users. The affected users are unable to access Google Mail, but we’ve provided a workaround below,” the company wrote on its apps dashboard. Google says people who have signed up for a service to run Gmail off of their computer hard drives, instead of the Web, should be able to use the service through the crash. Google’s post says the company will release more details about the partial crash later Thursday. Gmail lets Internet users write e-mail messages, archive documents, chat online and store contact lists. Millions of people around the world use the free service.

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As with previous outages, the online community is complaining the service break disrupts office work and personal lives. As more computing power moves “into the cloud,” storing information online rather than on home computers, online applications like Gmail become important parts of people’s lives. The most recent Gmail outage occurred September 1. Some tech writers seemed genuinely disturbed by the crash. Others mocked how addicted some people have become to online-only forms of communication. Mashable, a blog that covers social media, posted a list of five things to do while Gmail is down. One of the recommendations: “Go outside! There’s nothing left for it. Our cozy technosphere bubble has been burst by this point. Go look for someone to harass on the street in person and ask them what URL shortener they use.” Another recent Gmail crash occurred in February. At the time, blogger Ron Schenone wrote that people put a lot of faith in big tech companies like Google. “It seems to me that people want to believe that Google is infallible,” he wrote on the Lockergnome blog network. “Though Google may be the king of search, their equipment is man made and their technicians are human.”