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Google's Gmail service suffers disruption

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Several Google Inc Web products, including the popular Gmail service, appeared to go dark for users on several continents on Monday.

Google confirmed that "service disruptions" had affected Gmail and Google Drive, its online storage service. The two products are part of Google's Apps suite, a Microsoft Office rival that caters to both consumers and businesses.

By 10:10 a.m. Pacific Time (1.10 p.m. EST), Google's Apps Dashboard monitoring service reported that Gmail and Drive service had resumed. The company did not specify how many users were affected, or where, but the outage prompted widespread complaints on social media on both coasts in the U.S. and other major markets, from the United Kingdom to Brazil.

Some users additionally reported that the outage had affected Google Docs, the company's word-processing and spreadsheet programs, while Chrome, Google's Internet browser, also crashed unexpectedly.

"We are currently experiencing an issue with some Google services," Google spokeswoman Andrea Freund said in a statement. "For everyone who is affected, we apologize for any inconvenience you may be experiencing."

Firmly entrenched in the consumer market, Gmail is one of Google's most popular and important product offerings. The search giant, which has been pushing a corporate version of the email service and its Apps suite to businesses to compete with Microsoft, said this month that the package will no longer be free to business customers.

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by Andrew Hay and Nick Zieminski)

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