For those who are regularly up at 1:30 am in the morning, Google’s Gmail went down (to lots of Twitter angst) for a few hours.
What’s interesting, is a few minutes ago their team just posted an “everything is working” post on their blog, with a mysterious note that some users “may be asked to fill in” a CAPTCHA response.
The first thing I though was: Hmm, somebody tried to hack Gmail — CAPTCHA is the technique that is used to prevent robot hacking or creation of accounts, by requiring users to type in a visually contorted string of letters. Those letters are (usually) not readable by software. Because of that, they are used by companies to prevent the automated use of software — often, networks of compromised computers –to create accounts, guess passwords, and otherwise access services they shouldn’t.
Google hasn’t given any reason for the downtime, saying it is still investigating the root of the problem. Was the downtime due to some unexplained hacking attempt? (note: wild speculation on my part)