Google scratches controversial Calendar maintenance

Google has scrapped a controversial 13-hour planned maintenance of its Calendar service after receiving complaints from Google Apps users.

Google has scrapped a planned 13-hour maintenance of Google Calendar that had some users confused and worried about potentially significant disruptions of the online calendaring service.

Apparently, Google decided to cancel the maintenance work after hearing from enough concerned users of Google Calendar and of the Google Apps hosted applications suite of which it is part.

"Google is focused on its users, and in this case we listened to user feedback in making our decision," a Google spokesman wrote via e-mail on Wednesday.

In a brief e-mail, Google notified Google Apps administrators that it planned to conduct "routine maintenance" of Calendar between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday, but it didn't specify a time zone, leading some users to post

messages in discussion forums seeking clarification.

Others posted messages expressing concern about the length of service disruptions, which wasn't addressed in the initial e-mail, particularly because the maintenance work was scheduled during a weekday and during work hours. IT maintenance work that takes services offline is usually done during weekends or, if done during weekdays, very late at night.

Subsequently, Google sent these administrators another e-mail, clarifying that the first e-mail referred to Pacific Time and that end users might find Calendar unavailable for no more than 5 or 10 minutes during this 13-hour window.

However, Google is now saying Thursday's maintenance work has been scrapped, and that future work of this type in Calendar will be coordinated in a way that doesn't affect Google Apps users at all, according to the spokesman.

The incident has also triggered a review of how Google Apps software is maintained in the future. "We are actively working on changes in routine maintenance procedures for other products on the Google Apps platform so updates such as these will either take place outside of peak hours or not impact our customers at all. We are sorry for any confusion this has caused," the spokesman wrote.