Google had two separate outages this week.
One was a small outage on Monday that wiped out email to only a "small subset" of users.
Tuesday afternoon's outage affected "a majority" of Gmail users and lasted about an hour and 45 minutes until the problem was fixed, the company said.
Clinical reports of Google email outages don't reveal the angst of the businesses that suffer loss of service. When it's your own servers that are down you can get rapid status updates from your IT staff and decide whether to invest in additional system redundancy. When it's all in the cloud then all you can do is twiddle your thumbs and wait.
The same questions about system uptime apply to the Microsoft and Lotus offerings in this area. I'm not an expert on the cloud but it all seems terribly fragile to me.