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(NECN: Ted McEnroe) - Google is getting the kind of heat once reserved for the electric and phone companies - after a problem caused by routine maintenance took down its GMail system for about 2 hours yesterday afternoon. Ben Treynor, the VP of Engineering and Site Reliability Czar for GMail <a href="http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/">explains it all in the GMail blog</a> - basically, they took down some servers for maintenance, traffic spiked, and overloaded things. It led to a massive angry response, and a shift in traffic to places like Twitter and Facebook for people and businesses trying to communicate. The company says it has learned some lessons - increasing capacity, and making sure that servers slow down rather than reject traffic if they get overloaded. That made me realize - Google sounds like a utility provider. Many summers we get press releases from electric utilities that measure capacity versus expected demand for service, warn of possible brownouts if there is a massive surge in need, and so on. Of course, it's sometimes easier to predict a spike in utility usage and warn people ahead of time. But if you're GMail, take it as a backhanded compliment. You've made people so angry because they can't live without you. And as we talk about swine flu, EEE, and West Nile this fall - there's an app for that, and it's built in Boston. Researchers at Children’s Hospital and MIT, who founded the site <a href="http://www.healthmap.org">Healthmap</a>, have created a new <a href="http://www.healthmap.org/iphone/">iPhone app that lets users track and report outbreaks</a> of any infectious disease, such as West Nile Virus, EEE and of course, H1N1. The app, “Outbreaks Near Me,” mines informal electronic information sources such as news reports and official alerts to search for, track and map infectious disease outbreaks. The app also hopes to make users into cyber-health reporters. You can submit your own reports - whether they are links to other local news sources or more first hand accounts of a situation. What's not as clear is how well the reports will be screened for accuracy. Nonetheless, H1N1 is the kind of story that will be happening everywhere at once. Mapping it could provide great insights into just how severe the outbreak might be. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/ http://www.healthmap.org/iphone/