Google has had a few issues during the past several weeks with their Gmail being down. In a way to make amends of sorts, Google now has a Apps Status Dashboard where you can see the status of not only Gmail and also other applications.
According to Google they state that:
Customers can use this Status Dashboard to check on the current service status of individual services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video for business. Administrators of Google Apps for their businesses, schools and organizations can also view the performance of the administrative control panel.
The Google Apps Status Dashboard represents an additional layer of transparency that we believe will be particularly useful for our business users, and it’s also relevant to users of our consumer products. The Status Dashboard is the best place to check for information on service availability for Google Apps anywhere in the world. In my role on the sales team, I regularly talk with customers to make sure that they’re getting the most out of Google Apps and I think that you will find this tool indispensable in managing your Google Apps deployment.
I believe that this is a welcome improvement so that we consumers do not have to guess whether an application is working or not.