An online Google Apps dashboard indicated that trouble rippled through Gmail, Google+ and an array of the company's other services.
Google did not disclose the extent of the Gmail glitch but the brief outage was believed to have affected millions of people, including those using the service at work.
Complaints were posted online from Europe, Canada, the United States and elsewhere.
Google referred an AFP inquiry to its online Apps tracking dashboard, which indicated that a dozen services -- including Gmail and its social network Google+ -- had experienced problems.
The dashboard indicated that all Google services were working again as of early afternoon in California.
Yahoo, whose own Web-based email service experienced a massive outage in December, was quick to join a chorus on Twitter spreading word of the Gmail issue.
Yahoo even tweeted a screen capture of a Google message apologizing for the problem.