Extended Gmail outage hits Apps admins

A prolonged, ongoing Gmail outage has some Google Apps administrators pulling their hair out as their end users, including high-ranking executives, complain loudly while they wait for service to be restored.

At around 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Google in the official Google Apps discussion forum that the company was aware of a problem preventing Gmail users from logging into their accounts and that it expected a solution by 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Google offered no explanation as to what is causing the problem nor as to why it will take the company so long to solve the problem, which manifests itself by giving Gmail users a "502" error when trying to access their e-mail accounts.

Although Google said the bug is affecting "a small number of users," that is little comfort for Google Apps administrators who are fielding angry complaints from end users.

An administrator identified as Bill W. a desperate message on the forum Thursday morning, saying his company's CEO is steaming about being locked out of his e-mail account since around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Support keeps telling me it is affecting a small number of users. This is not a temporary problem if it