A prolonged, ongoing Gmail outage has some Google Apps administrators pulling their hair out as their end users, including high-ranking executives, complain loudly while they wait for service to be restored.
At around 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Google announced in the official Google Apps discussion forum that the company was aware of a problem preventing Gmail users from logging into their accounts and that it expected a solution by 9 p.m. on Thursday.
Google offered no explanation as to what is causing the problem nor as to why it will take the company so long to solve the problem, which manifests itself by giving Gmail users a "502" error when trying to access their e-mail accounts.
Although Google said the bug is affecting "a small number of users," that is little comfort for Google Apps administrators who are fielding angry complaints from end-users.
An administrator identified as Bill W. posted a desperate message on the forum Thursday morning, saying his company's CEO is steaming about being locked out of his e-mail account since around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
"Support keeps telling me it is affecting a small number of users. This is not a temporary problem if it
lasts this long. It is frustrating to not be able to expedite these issues. I have to speak with the boss again and he's po'd (pissed off). This is considered a mission critical issue here. We may have to make other arrangements. Apparently Google mail is not very reliable. I think I would have pushed for something else before we switched if I had known the level of unreliability," he wrote.
Another administrator identified as Techlinks wrote: "This outage has hit us pretty hard and we've been out of email for 24 hours and now business is suffering."
Google Apps is a suite of hosted collaboration and communication software and services designed for workplace use. Its Premier edition costs $50 per user per year and includes a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee for the Gmail service.
In August, Gmail had three significant outages that affected not only individual consumers of the free Webmail service but also paying Google Apps Premier customers. As a result, Google decided to extend a credit to all Apps Premier customers and vowed to improve its problem-notification methods.