Remember the saying "you get what you pay for." Well, Gmail (and Google) have trashed that. I've been using the service for years, and can only remember 2 outages that lasted more than a couple minutes, which is one heck of a lot better than most providers, free or otherwise.
So all y'all (yeah, this transplanted Yankee called you "y'all" - you got a problem with that?) that are giving Google crap over this latest outage (which, btw, is over for me at 9:14 EST) maybe you just need to simmer down. Everyone loves to laugh when the giant stumbles, but any reasonable look at Google's service availability puts them at the top of the heap. AND it's free - so please callate.