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MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA – An estimated 35 million users of the popular webmail service Gmail were unable to access their accounts on early Tuesday afternoon, Google said, although the issue was resolved in less than an hour.
The outage began at around 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT) when Gmail users started seeing a 'temporary error' message. "We're sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable," the error message said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes."
"We're aware that some users are experiencing an error when accessing their Gmail. We've implemented a fix and users should be now be able to access their mail. We apologize for the inconvenience," a Google spokesperson said, without giving more details about what caused the outage.
Google initially estimated that less than two percent of its user base was affected by Tuesday's outage, but a spokesperson later raised that number to approximately ten percent, or some 35 million accounts. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better," an update on Google's Apps Status Dashboard said.
Most of the affected users were able to access their accounts within an hour, although some users continued to experience problems for a short period of time. "While we have resolved this issue with Google Mail, it's possible that some users may experience message delays because affected accounts weren't available to receive messages," Google said. "The messages will be successfully delivered after account access is restored."
Gmail has approximately 350 million users worldwide.
In February 2011, some 70,000 Gmail users found their e-mails, folders, themes and labels had all been 'deleted' when they attempted to access their account. It took Google several days before the fault was restored, but the company later said that e-mail was never lost and access was eventually restored for everyone.