Google has responded to the Gmail outage this afternoon (hereby known as the Great Gmail outage of 08) with a post to the Google blog stating that Google is both sorry about the downtime, and is addressing the issues:
We’ve identified the source of this issue and fixed it. In addition, as with all issues that affect Gmail and our other services, we’re conducting a full review of what went wrong and moving quickly to update our internal systems and procedures accordingly.
Showing the growing power of Twitter, they note that they’ve been reading Tweets:
We heard loud and clear today how much people care about their Gmail accounts. We followed all the emails to our support team and user group, we fielded phone calls from Google Apps customers and friends, and we saw the many Twitter posts
At last count, Gmail was back up and running well. I saw some people suggesting that people might switch to Yahoo mail or other services because of this, time will tell, but I doubt it. I don’t recall Gmail having been down before (although it may have been in the past), and that alone to me is evidence that one outage can and should be forgiven.