In the end, the outage wasn't so bad. It only lasted about 18 minutes, and probably caused many people to step away from their computers, go outside, and speak to other humans. And overall, Google Apps is very reliable, with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
It’s the 0.1% that gets you. When you have to send that time-sensitive email. Or when need that Doc for the meeting. Or when you are in the middle of a training session and trying to convince your audience of the importance of cloud computing (thankfully that was not me this time.)
So how do you know if the problem is with Google, or your connection, or your computer, or maybe just you? Thankfully there are several ways to stay informed of Google service outages, known bugs, and recent changes.
In touch with Outages
When it appears that an entire Google service is down, the first place to check is the Apps Status Dashboard at http://www.google.com/appsstatus
This website shows you realtime and recent information on the status of many key Google services. The statuses include “No Issues”, “Service disruption”, and “Service outage”. You can even click on the status of a service to get more details on the specific problem.
Bugged by Bugs
Other times instead of an outage, something is simply not working properly in a Google App. Again you may be wondering if something has gone wrong or if you are doing something wrong. To help, Google has several web pages that list the current known issues within their services. This is a good way to check to see if Google is aware of the problem, if/when it may be fixed, and possible workarounds or solutions.
Know What’s New
Just like outages and bugs, new features to Google Apps can initially be confusing, often causing users to think something is wrong. You can stay up to date on the newest improvements to the Google services at the following sites:
Forums for You
Finally when all else fails, you can always turn to the Google Apps community to see what others are saying or ask your questions. Google provides forums for most all of their products:
And of course you can always reach out to the Apps User Group community on our own forum at http://www.appsusergroup.org/forum There you will find hundreds of knowledgeable and helpful people.
If you have other favorite methods for staying up on outages, issues, and upgrades, please share in the comments below.