It's one of those moments that makes you realise how important the internet has become to everyday life - Gmail is down and has been down for a while now. Cue collective gnashing of teeth and howls from the 20 million users worldwide, as we realise how utterly vital the email service is to us. Or is it? It's frustrating, sure, but surely something's not so important that it can't be worked around. There's plenty of other ways of contacting people - Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, another email account. Even the telephone. I love the internet, but I refuse to accept that when one site goes down, it takes the whole of our lives with it.
And this may seem slightly luddite and very non-Web 2.0 of me, but I actually quite like it on the odd occasions email goes down, in the same way that leaving your mobile at home for the day is somewhat liberating.
It's probably a reflection of, well, something that Gmail going down causes such panic (although perfectly understandable). Twitter's full of "Gmail is officially rubbish - it's the new Twitter" posts. But this is the first time I've seen it down for longer than a couple of minutes since I switched quite a few years ago (ok, inductive reasoning is largely a shite form of deduction, but Gmail being down is something that's not registered on my radar).
It's also still largely reliable and miles better than any other email system I've used. I curse Outlook on a daily basis. Regular downtime may shift users elsewhere, but if the product is good, we'll stick with it. Moving is such a hassle anyway.
It wouldn't hurt for Google to improve their customer service though.
Also, has anybody else noticed Twitter has managed to survive the Gmail downtime onslaught. There's an interesting thought.
My own theory? Putin's invaded the internet because it looked at him funny.