LATEST UPDATE: Google’s App Status Dashboard, an official website that offers performance information for Google Apps services, claimed earlier today that Gmail’s status went down, but the problem is now resolved less than an hour later.

“Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better,” contended Google.

The service interruption only affected 2 percent of Gmail’s user-base. DownRightNow, a universal monitoring service for the Web that is similar to Google’s Dashboard, described the outage as a “widespread service disruption” that started somewhere between 12:40 p.m. and 12:59 p.m. EST. The service interruption did not seem to affect mail pushing to third-party clients.

Those who tried to access Gmail.com directly found the following “Temporary Error (500)” notice with a “93″ numeric technical code:

This post is continuously updating, but it is currently unknown why the disruption occurred.

OLDER UPDATE: Google confirmed it is “investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly.” Meanwhile, later tweets officially announced the service should already be restored for some users.

A France-based user verified Google’s statement with a tweet about Gmail being back online in his country. A collection of tweets relating to the service outage is below.