Google confirmed “many Gmail users” were unable to access the email service since about 2 p.m. Pacific Time after receiving a “502 Error” message which would seem to indicate a system overload of some kind for the popular service.
Whatever the issue, it appears to have been identified and fixed. A Google spokesman said the issue has been fixed and Gmail is functioning normally. Several mail users contacted by InternetNews.com report their service is back and working after being unable to access it.
In response to a request for an explanation about the problem, Google sent the following statement to InternetNews.com:
“Since about 2 p.m. Pacific Time today, many Gmail users have been unable to access their email. We are very sorry for this interruption in service. The issue is being caused by a temporary outage in the contacts system used by Gmail, which is preventing Gmail from loading properly. We are starting to roll out a fix now and hope to have the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Even though you may not be able to get to your inbox right now, your mail is safe, including new incoming messages.
Google also noted it will provide an update at its mail support site as soon as it has more information to share.
“I’ve seen this twice today. Scares the bejesus out of me. Twitter is fun, but GMail is mission-critical.”
“Gmail down” also appeared today as number one on Google’s Hot Trends list that tracks search patterns.
In addition to be a key application in Google’s lineup of free consumer services, Gmail is also central to its Google Apps suite for business users.