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Wed 25 Feb 2009 11:00 AM

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Google confirms worldwide outage of Gmail

Users were left unable to access their accounts for nearly three hours

Google’s Gmail service crashed briefly yesterday leaving users around the world unable to access their accounts for two and half hours.

The outage, which took place shortly after 9:30am GMT, was blamed on overloading, with Gmail site reliability manager Acacio Cruz detailing the problem on the official Google blog.

“…there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centers. This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data center. Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data center in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another,” explained Cruz.

It took Google about an hour to resolve the issue, which is now under control.

Some users however may be asked to complete a CAPTCHA - which asks you to type in a word or some letters to verify that the response is not generated by a computer – before gaining access to their accounts.

It's the latest incident threatening to harm Google’s reputation of reliability - earlier this month, a technical glitch caused by human error forced nearly every Google search result to be tagged as potentially harmful.

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