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Google disruption sets Web users atwitter

A minor panic spread across the Internet on Thursday after Google suffered what appeared to be a temporary service outage.

Reports cropped up throughout the Web that Google’s search engine, as well as popular services like Gmail and Google Analytics were running slowly or not at all in various parts of the world on Thursday morning.

And the incident caused ripples that slowed down other Web sites.

Because many online firms have woven javascript applications like Google Analytics – which provides analysis of a site’s traffic – into their Web sites, the Google outage impacted their own sites. Imad Mouline, the CTO of Web performance monitoring firm Gomez said his company noticed that certain sites took between two times and four times longer to load because of links to Google applications on Thursday morning.

Users of the Twitter microblogging service fired off a flood of anxious Tweets inquiring, and venting, about the situation.

“My life has come to a complete halt,” wrote one hapless Twitter user, while another suggested Google be nationalized given that it is such an essential service.

Google finds panacea to the ill-advised email

How many times have you smacked your forehead in frustration after sending a bawdy e-mail to your boss that had been meant for a friend?

Until now, there had been no way to retrieve the missive. Even if the person’s on vacation, it’s only a matter of time before – as the saying goes – your nether region is grass. Enter Google’s Gmail Labs and “Undo Send”. If you enable the feature, every time you hit ‘send’, a button allowing you to ‘undo’ the send will pop up along with confirmation that the e-mail has been sent. You have five seconds to decide.

Etiquette hounds coach you to leave the “to” blank while you write an e-mail (especially if it’s a subject you feel strongly about) and not forward an e-mail without permission. As author and business consultant Tim Sanders says, “you never need to send an e-mail that’s regrettable.” But it happens all the time.

Google enters Skype territory

Google’s at it again.

The Web search leader edged into Skype’s territory at on Tuesday with a feature that allows multitasking Gmail users to video chat, IM and email all at the same time.

Gmail and Google App subscribers can now gossip with friends or coworkers on a high-quality video screen and simultaneously instant message them in a Google Chat box.  The video screen can be popped out of the chat box and moved around a user’s computer screen.

Check out this YouTube video with Google engineer Serge Lachapelle to see how it works. A team of Googlers in Seattle, Sweden and Silicon Valley collaborated on the new app, which is available for both PC and Mac users.