Google's Gmail service is down in what appears to be a widespread outage. We're seeing the same 502 errors reported at TechCrunch and Mashable. While it's easy to write this off as an outage on a free service, that's no longer the case for thousands of organizations using Google's paid Google Apps for Your Domain program.
The outage is prompting anxiety as some realize how much they rely upon Google in general and email in particular. "Given the amount of my digital life that is stored at Google, it's a wake-up call," writes Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins at Mashable. "I can't imagine I am the only person in the blogosphere so heavily vested in Google services, so it'll be interesting to see what effect a couple hours of downtime will have on us all."
Like perhaps Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, who is taking the outage personally. "I can't help but suspect that my decision yesterday to abandon MobileMe/.Mac in favor of the super-stable Google apps may have been a factor," Arrington writes.
UPDATE: Here's a comment from Google on the outage:
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.