Gmail knocked offline for 'majority' of users


Google Inc.'s Gmail service has been knocked offline in an outage that the company said affected a "majority" of its millions of e-mail users.

The disruption, which lasted under two hours on Tuesday, was a reminder of the growing dependence on Google's technology.

The disruption led tens of millions of Gmail users to get an "Unable to reach Gmail" error message as their computers tried repeatedly to reconnect to the service.

Google said it had taken some of Gmail's servers offline for routine maintenance, and underestimated the load that would place on other computers responsible for directing traffic to the appropriate Gmail servers.

Google said it was alerted to the failures within seconds. It said it has added capacity and made other changes to prevent similar incidents in the future. A separate outage on Monday had wiped out e-mail to a "small subset" of users.

Google says more than 1.75 million businesses use Gmail as part of Google Apps, which is Google's answer to business software from Microsoft Corp.

The last major outage at Google happened in May, when millions of people were cut off from Google's search engine, e-mail and other online services after too much traffic was routed through computers in Asia.