Google probably has on payroll the strongest contingent of computer science brainpower on the planet. Google has created an incredible services base, with a global, self-healing file system. If you use Gmail, you don't know if you're connected to a server in the US or in China. You don't know where your mail resides. And you don't care. It just works.
So it was a surprise to see a red warning strip atop my Gmail home page, alerting me that Google can't load my contacts.
The issue becomes increasingly important as Google seeks to convince organizations as well as individuals to trust them not only with mail, but with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Google now goes so far as to advertise its service offerings on the Red Cedar Message Board, a place where fans of Michigan State University sports gather. Their pitch: it's expensive to run servers, so let us run servers for you.
A bold, aggressive proposition. But be careful what you ask for, Google; people get really upset when vital pieces of their lives vanish.