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Gmail services were disrupted on Thursday afternoon, as users lost access to their contacts.

Help pages for Google's webmail utility explained that the contact list feature was borked. As a result functions including chat, contact manager and email address auto-complete were rendered temporarily unavailable.

Reg readers report that Gmail has slowed to a crawl more generally. The issue is also affecting corporate customer of Google's commercial webmail service.

Service monitoring website Downrightnow reports "likely service disruption" with Gmail while Twitter is alive with gripes about Google webmail glitches.

The cause of the problem, and when it's likely to be resolved, is unclear. Problems with Gmail are becoming more frequent of late. A much more severe service outage problem last hit the service as recently as 1 September.

Severe service problems also cropped up in May, March and February. ®

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