Web giant Google's Gmail service appeared to suffer a worldwide outage today, again casting doubt on its reliability for use as a primary email service.
Australian users reported the outage on the Whirlpool broadband forums at just after 6.00am Australian Eastern time.
The service appeared to have been restored around 7.45am, but it is uncertain whether emails sent to Gmail addresses during the outages have been restored.
The company initially claimed the issue affected only "a small subset of users" and that "service had already been restored for some users" less than 20 minutes later.
Google also attempted to play down the outage on its Gmail blog, stating "we don't usually post about minor issues here".
But it acknowledged that "many" customers were having trouble accessing Gmail.
"We know many of you are having trouble accessing Gmail right now - we are too, and we definitely feel your pain," the firm said.
"Because this is impacting so many of you, we wanted to let you know we're currently looking into the issue and hope to have more info to share shortly," the post said.
Google said it was "terribly sorry for the inconvenience and will get Gmail back up and running as soon as possible".
The company has also recommended users access their Gmail accounts via IMAP or POP.
Google is locked in a marketing battle with Microsoft to convince corporate users that Gmail was an enterprise-ready alternative to traditional Exchange or Lotus-based systems.
Universities were a key battleground with Adelaide University among those to sign up to the Gmail service.