If you were an early bird like me and on your computer circa 5:30-5:45 a.m. EST this morning, or on the other side of the world when this would be a reasonable time of the day, you too may have participated in the "Great Gmail outage of February 2009."
The hysteria could probably best be observed first hand on Twitter, where thousands of users, myself included, screamed in protest and paranoia.
Google, I know you're listening. I give you my life. You make Gmail work. That is the deal.
My entire life was in Gmail, including several hundred thousand pages of legal documents and notes. Gmail's enormous storage size always made it more convenient for transferring files, and making sure I didn't lose any information (like the laptop I lost in the airport this weekend). Google Reader, which I use for all my blog reading, was also down, but hardly of a similar priority.
Murad Ahmad at Tech Central points out that it had been over an hour for some countries (it varied geographically, and for me it lasted around 15 min., others two hours or more) and that many companies have moved to Gmail as their professional communication system.
"Let's count the cost: 25m users, 33% affected; average of $50 per hour lost productivity = $415m per hour economic cost…"
She didn't consider lawyers' billable hour rates.
The rest of us will continue to live in even more accentuated paranoia, checking our Gmail even more regularly than we already do, just to make sure that everything is still there.