Google gets it right: We feel your pain, and we're sorry:
Many of you had trouble accessing Gmail for a couple of hours this afternoon, and we're really sorry. The issue was caused by a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly. Everything should be back to normal by the time you read this.
We heard loud and clear today how much people care about their Gmail accounts. We followed all the emails to our support team and user group, we fielded phone calls from Google Apps customers and friends, and we saw the many Twitter posts. (We also heard from plenty of Googlers, who use Gmail for company email.) We never take for granted the commitment we've made to running an email service that you can count on.
That's a pretty good apology. It's a solid level 9: Apologies, ranked. Being that GMail is a free service I don't think a level 10 would have been appropriate.
Of course, for those of us that work in IT, Google did us a huge favor today. If Google with all its resources, and with all its super smart people can have a major outage, then how can anyone expect much better from us? So, thank you Google! No apology necessary.