updated 03:14 pm EST, Fri January 24, 2014
Outage affected Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Google Play
Google suffered an outage on its e-mail service that affected all users of Gmail, as well as affecting Google+, Hangouts, and Google Play. Starting at approximately 2pm Eastern Time today, the outage prevented Gmail users from accessing the service at all, instead presenting "Temporary Error (500)" message, though after 20 minutes, a number of users started to regain access to various affected services.
Google has yet to provide an explanation for the widespread outage, but at least has acknowledged it. The App Status Dashboard shows an initial report of a service disruption on Gmail, with the message "We're investigating reports of an issue with Gmail. We will provide more information shortly." Over 40 minutes later, a similar message was placed on the dashboard for Google Calendar, Talk, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Sites, and Groups.
Gmail error message
During the outage, users resorted to venting their frustration on Twitter, with Yahoo adding to the list of comments by posting an image of the error page countless users were seeing themselves.
At the time of writing, the majority of affected services appear to be operational for most users, though there are still a number of instances of slow-loading pages.