Internet giant Google on Thursday apologised to users, saying it was “extremely sorry” as the servers of its email service ‘Gmail’ was facing a serious problem of not recognising vowels.

The result, Gmail, was spelt ‘Gml’ and Google as ‘Ggl’ and so forth on the homepage. However, the entire issue later turned out to be an All Fool’s Day prank by Google.

In a post on its official blog, Gmail Engineering Director Sam Schillace wrote, “We realize this makes things difficult for all of you who rely on Gmail — whether at home or at work — and we’re incredibly sorry.”

The vowels were, however, intact in the contents of emails sent or received via Gmail.

“If you logged into Gmail over the last hour (or visited the Gmail homepage), you probably noticed that something looked a bit off: all the vowels are missing,” Schillace said.

Explaining the problem, the official wrote that “at 6:01 am Pacific Time, during routine maintenance at one of our data centres, the frontend web servers in that particular data centre started failing to render the letter ‘a’ for a subset of users.

“As error rates escalated, the strain spread to other data centres. We worked quickly to avoid a cascading failure of the entire alphabet by implementing a stopgap solution that limited the damage to the letters ‘a,’ ‘e,’ ‘i,’ ‘o,’ and ‘u.’

As a result, we’re experiencing Gmail’s first temporary vowel outage. (We’re still investigating whether the letter ‘y’ is impacted and will post an update here shortly.)”

Gmail said it was identifying the root case of the issue and the vowels should be back into the users’ accounts soon. “We’ll post an update as soon as things are fully resolved and, again, we’re very sorry,” Gmail said.

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