After I told a second client about Google Apps’ dashboard this week, I realized that many people are still unaware that the search and media company updates a page to tell users about outages related to Gmail, Google Docs and other product extensions.
When I’ve lived in areas prone to power outages, everyone in the neighborhood knew the power company’s phone number. Over time, we grew adept at parsing their statements about when power would be restored. Sometimes going to bed at 8:15 can be good for anyone… especially you Type A bloggers. The power company promoted their information service with refrigerator magnets, stickers for the handset of landline phones and vanity telephone numbers. The line was answered by a recording and callers with emergencies were told to call 911, but all you really want to know in a blackout is when the power is being restored. Every other decision falls out of the answer to that question.
Google is fast reaching utility status in many small businesses. The company’s webware is poised to carve increasingly larger chunks of Microsoft Office’s market share. When these apps or Gmail suffer an outage like the one on November 1, users need a fast way to find out when Gmail will be restored. The company hasn’t done a very good job of notifying people about their “Google Apps Status Dashboard” so bookmark the site now in case you’re email is down or your documents are inaccessible. And remember that it’s okay to go to bed early sometimes too.