Significant delays in the delivery of email messages to Gmail users are being widely reported with no apparent response from Google. As an increasing number of people choose to forward their email to and from Gmail, these delays present a real problem - enough business decisions are made based on email threads that delays of 9 to 12 hours for delivery could be a deal breaker for some users.

Google announced two weeks ago the availability of an official Gmail Help Discussion Group. A search through that group shows repeated reports of delays and no one from Google appears to be engaged in these discussions.

It does take two to tango and it's possible that these problems are always on the other end of the email transaction instead of being Gmail's problem. Though that seems unlikely, a little communication would likely go a long way.

Though the service's spam-filtering, search, storage and IM integration are just a few of the remarkably positive qualities it has to offer - if the performance of the core service is is lacking then you have to wonder how long people will put up with it.

Perhaps the lesson of Twitter applies here: no matter how much a service's performance sucks eggs, if the user experience is compelling enough when it is up, then people will suffer through the repeated bad times. Twitter is one thing, though and email is another. Have you got Gmail delivery delay stories to tell? I sure do and all it would take is one delayed email costing my a pile of money and I'd have to consider switching to another service provider. Perhaps it's foolish to wait that long. Perhaps it's foolish to have put as much of our collective lives in the hands of a free web app. That said, I don't want to change.

Here's a little exercise. Watch the following Gmail video and instead of adding "in bed" to the end of every sentence like you do with fortune cookie messages, add "when it arrives" to these happy testimonials.