Gmail has been hit by widespread service outages this morning. The failure has affected users in the UK, elsewhere in Europe and in Asia.
The online mail service, which has begun to gain traction with UK enterprises, is offline, with Google admitting it has a problem.
"We're aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a number of users," Google said in an advisory on its Gmail support site. "We're working hard to resolve this problem and will post updates as we have them. We apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused."
The failure comes as Google prepares a significant enhancement to the service, by allowing users to access their mail while offline.
It followed several UK organisations, including the Guardian News & Media (GNM), which publishes The Guardian and The Observer newspapers and the Guardian.co.uk website, the Telegraph Media Group, construction giant Taylor Woodrow, and the University of Westminster].
Google has had trouble with Gmail before, setting off waves of concerns over the reliability of the service.
Last August, Gmail had three significant outages that affected not only individual consumers of the free Web mail service but also companies and organisations paying for Apps Premier, the company's hosted suite of collaboration, messaging and office productivity services. Apps Premier costs US$50 per user per year.
To compensate for the downtime, Google decided to extend a credit to all Apps Premier customers and also said it would get better at notifying people of problems. Google offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee for Gmail for users paying for Google Apps Premier.
An outage on 11 Augustlasted about two hours and affected almost all Apps Premier users. The other two, on 6 August and 15 August, hit a small number of Apps Premier users but locked some users out of their accounts for more than 24 hours.