Google’s web-based email service, Gmail, has crashed this morning, leaving millions of users from Britain to Australia unable to send and receive messages.
The email service went offline at around 10.25am GMT, and the outage appears to have affected users throughout the UK as well as across Europe, and even as far afield as Australia and India.
It appears that only web-based Gmail access is affected, and users can continue to send and receive messages using other devices, such as mobile phones and third-party mail clients.
Google could not confirm what had caused the outage. “A number of users are having difficulty accessing Gmail,” said the company in a statement. “We are working to resolve the problem. We know how important Gmail is to users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologise for the inconvenience.
“We are posting status updates about the problem at http://mail.google.com/support
Bloggers and Twitter users were quick to flag up issues with the service. Google’s web-based email system is usually fairly robust, and suffers little downtime, so many internet users were left baffled by the problems and at a loss as to what to do. Many Twitter messages offered workarounds to the problem, such as using mobile email applications, while other Gmail users said they would simply down tools and make a cup of tea and wait for the issue to be resolved.
Several major companies, including Telegraph Media Group and The Guardian, have switched to using the Google Apps suite in place of conventional desktop email. Google Apps allows users to work collaboratively on documents via the web, as well as share calendars, and provides instant messaging and chat alongside Gmail email services.