Gmail FAIL - children starve, cities burn, Four Horsemen sighted

2 September 2009

The world ending, yesterday

You can't take over the world and expect nobody to notice when you screw up. Last night Gmail went down around the world for just under two hours, leaving millions of people without access to Pizza Express vouchers and other documents of vital importance.

While we suffered the failure after 8pm during the peak of primetime television, US users lost Gmail during the working day. Google have already blogged about the issue and the causes:

"We took a small fraction of Gmail's servers offline to perform routine upgrades. This isn't in itself a problem — we do this all the time, and Gmail's web interface runs in many locations and just sends traffic to other locations when one is offline.

"However, as we now know, we had slightly underestimated the load which some recent changes (ironically, some designed to improve service availability) placed on the request routers — servers which direct web queries to the appropriate Gmail server for response. At about 12:30 pm Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system "stop sending us traffic, we're too slow!". This transferred the load onto the remaining request routers, causing a few more of them to also become overloaded, and within minutes nearly all of the request routers were overloaded."

For those who rely solely on Gmail for email access, it brings home the fact that Google is not impervious to FAIL - fortunately Gmail was restored before the rioting and cannibalism got out of hand. So what can you do about it? For starters, open up another email account and begin forwarding all new mail that you receive to your Gmail account onto it:

You'll find the option under Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP. Your Gmail account can still receive all your mail, but a copy will automatically be sent to your secondary account. There are plenty to choose from, just make sure it's not another Gmail account. Yes, some people back up their Gmail account with another one. The secondary account may not have all the labelling and threading abilities of Gmail, but if means you're less likely to be without access to documents and other important stuff.

Secondly, use the same page in the settings to set up IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) access. Yesterday's outage only affected the front end of Gmail, so while you couldn't log in online you still had full access via a third party such as Outlook or through a smartphone. There are more instructions on setting up IMAP access on Google.

TOPICS:   Technology


  • Geoff J.
    You are getting desperate for stories!
  • nlackjane
    Or you could just utilise GMail's offline functionality...
  • Mewling P.
    Or you could just accept that shit happens, and when you consider it's 2 hours for a global service that very, VERY rarely has any problems, you could just shut your wingeing face hole and find something more worthwhile to bitch about. Faggot.
  • -Mike H.
    Or you could just wait for BW to release a story, then come on here and post a stupid comment, defending the VERY company in question, add a few swear words like fuck and shit slagging everyone off then ending it with a derogatory word. C*UNTS
  • Steff
    didn't notice anything, I always use outlook
  • Amanda H.
    You use outlook do you. Hmmmmmmm, well that makes it alright then doesn't it.
  • reel
    the whole web goes down for longer where i work! ..Very desperate for stories!
  • jambo
    reel, maybe the whole world doesnt rely on your shitty little servers for their email? and Prick, maybe the biggest email set-up in the world that never goes down GOING DOWN is a story? if you guys think these stories are pointless you're the tits for wasting your time reading them aren't you? Man the fuck up.
  • bitter s.
    Bitter wallet never had any stories, it just piggy backs on the success of hotukdeals which itself is starting to become unstuck with shit deals...basically all the comments above are correct you guys are pathetic losers to boot.
  • ball_sack
    Shut up you end of nob and Jambo - stop pissing and get with the times
  • Paul S.
    Apologies, it seems you're bang on; every media outlet in the world thought it was a non-event too, and completely unworthy of a single column inch. Barely worth a mention, in fact. Oh. Hang on.
  • Kami
    A good secondary account to choose is yahoo, since they have unlimited storage. Sad, but yes my yahoo account has become a backup facility, and I did login to it for the first time in a while to check it during the service outage.

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