Google Inc.'s Gmail service was knocked offline on Tuesday in an outage that the company said affected a "majority" of its millions of e-mail users, including consumers who get Gmail for free and businesses that pay for a version for their employees.
The disruption, which lasted under two hours, was a reminder of the growing dependence on Google's technology. The free version of Gmail is the world's third most-popular e-mail program with some 149 million users worldwide in June, ranking behind the free e-mail services offered by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., according to data from comScore Inc.
As usually happens with hiccups in popular Web-based services, the Gmail glitch touched off a flurry of posts to social-networking websites from frustrated Gmail users wondering if others were having the same problem.
"Omg thank God I was at work!!! I wouldve gone mad!" one Twitter user wrote. Some favored snark. "Minute 30 of Gmail outage. The cities are in flames and people eating pets to survive. To future generations: we meant well," another user tweeted.
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. About 14 percent of Google's users encountered problems with the Internet's No. 1 search engine. Those outages lasted about an hour.