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Awkward situations also seemed to abound. One user complained that an email previously sent to the "alert all hands" company pager number was resulting in all-hours pager alerts for every company employee. Another spoke of their email recipient's IT department, not expecting the problem to have originated with Google, going over its own email servers with a fine-toothed comb. Google acknowledged the problem early Thursday morning and apologized, noting that "we're experiencing an issue affecting less than 2.5% of the Google Mail user base," which prohibited users from accessing Google Mail, and for some, also resulted in their messages being re-sent.
"We are working to implement a fix for this issue, after which point some of these messages may be re-sent one final time," said Google.
Even 2.5% of a Google service's user base, however, is sizeable. Indeed, by one estimate, Gmail had 176 million users in December 2009, meaning that over 4 million people may have been affected. By Thursday night, Google said it had fully resolved the problem. "No more duplicate emails should be going out at this point and new messages you send out now should not be affected by this issue," according to a support forum post by a Google employee identified as MrEvan,
"Sincerest apologies for the inconvenience this has caused you," he wrote. "While I can't take the messages back with some sort of magical Undo Send, I totally sympathize with your situation."