Google has restored e-mail service and messages to some of the users who had found their old e-mails deleted on Sunday.
Google Inc. first posted a notice about the problem Sunday afternoon on a site where it informs users of service problems on applications such as e-mail. The company says the problem affected about 0.02 percent of Gmail users, or two of every 10,000. That's down from its earlier estimate that 0.29 percent, or 29 of every 10,000.
Google did not say how many users this translates to, only that its Gmail service has "hundreds of millions" of users around the world. That would mean that tens of thousands _ 20,000 out of every 100 million _ users were affected.
The company said Monday afternoon it has restored access to a third of the users affected and estimated that all the remaining problems would be fixed by early Tuesday morning EST. Although the message losses were only temporary, the breakdown illustrates just how dependent people are on free e-mail services such as Gmail.
It's possible to backup Gmail messages. One way is to go to Gmail's settings, choose the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab and check "Enable POP for all mail." Then follow the configuration instructions. You can then download a copy of all messages using e-mail software such as Mozilla's Thunderbird.