Google's Gmail is experiencing an outage this afternoon. What's remarkable is the volume of commenting and Tweeting (looks like about 1,000 per minute) with users remarking/complaining about the outage, a reminder of how essential Gmail has become for many users.
"We're aware that people are having trouble accessing Gmail," Google said on its Twitter account. "We're working on fixing it." A post on the Gmail blog added that "if you have IMAP or P0OP set up already, you should be able to access your mail that way in the meantime." UPDATE: As of 5:15 pm Eastern time, it appears the Gmail web interface is back up for most users.
Gmail also had an extended outage in February when a code change triggered "cascading problems" that overloaded a data center in Europe. For more background on that outage, aliong with a broader overview of Google's incident management, see our interview with Google senior VP of operations Urs Hoelzle (How Google Routes Around Outages).