Gmail 707 Error

I entered Gmail hell yesterday morning. Whenever I sent an email from within a browser, I got a 707 error back and Gmail would go into an endless “Retry” loop. It was early Monday morning and I wasn’t ready to deal with this, so I grabbed my iPad and did a bunch of email on it. I didn’t connect that the client was working fine, but the browser version wasn’t until I got the office.

The answer was a simple one once I figured it out. I disabled all the Google Labs and it magically started working again. I then re-enabled Labs until I found the one that was causing the 707 error – the “Background Send” Labs. Apparently something broke over the weekend with Background Send and the newest browser version of Gmail.

If you are getting a 707 error, just turn off Background Send. That should fix it.

Consider this a public service announcement as of 11/8/11. When I searched Gmail 707 Error in Google, I didn’t find anything that referred to this. I found a few “clear your browser cache” suggestions, which didn’t help. I also found plenty of “I’ve got this problem” with no answers.

We did contact Google tech support via email and got a response back later in the day to turn off Google Labs to see if that fixed the problem. I also got a similar response from my special magic wormhole tech support line to Google engineering.

This was on the heals of a weekend of Gmail / iOS hell. My email clients on my iPad and my iPhone unexpectedly stopped working on Friday – constantly asking me to login to my Exchange account (I’m using the Exchange connector to access Gmail.) I didn’t figure out what the issue was until Sunday afternoon when I realized that the Gmail iOS app was interfering with the iOS mail app. I’d downloaded the Gmail app on both devices when it came out. It was crappy, but when Google pulled it from the app store, I thought it was novel enough to leave on my iOS devices for a while. Error! Once deleted it, email went back to normal.

Google, I love you, but please amp up the QA!

  • Todd Mckinney

    Brad, I’m all for more Q&A from the GOOG, but I’m guessing you mean QA, as in Quality Assurance…

    • Oops. My post needed some QA. Fixing now.

  • Todd Mckinney

    Brad, I’m all for more Q&A from the GOOG, but I’m guessing you mean QA, as in Quality Assurance…

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this was a fun one to track down wasn’t it?  I was having the exact same problem but others in the office weren’t so it wasn’t exactly clear where the issue was.  The bummer is I really love the functionality of Background Send so I’m hoping they work it out quickly…

  • Call me medeival. But my Outlook doesn’t do this to me.. 

    • Yeah, except Outlook takes 27 minutes to start up when you are on the road.

      • You mean connection to exchange??

        • No – grinding away on the local machine, building it’s happy cache, syncing email, and getting sync state consistent with the Exchange server. I’m exaggerating with 27 minutes but I’ve definitely sat, tried, and given up over a 3G connection before I was able to deal with a single email.

          • Haha. (Yup, caught the exaggeration – was just wondering which part was causing the delay)

            I haven’t had as bad an experience evidently. But then again, I’m not on the road 1/100th as much as you are as well. 🙂 

            To each, his own I guess.

  • James Mitchell

    This is an example of how many people deliberately choose to go backwards.

    Outlook works fine. I have about 6 GB in my main mailbox, so I am running a fairly large mailbox. I use offline folders, so I can use Outlook when I am offline. I have a Dell Alienware notebook, a total screamer. I have yet to meet a program that wasn’t really fast on the Alienware. My Outlook is connected to Exchange Server so my assistant can be connected to my mailbox at the same time. When I boot up Outlook, it takes about 7 seconds (I just timed it) to load until I can start to use it. It does take longer (about another 5 seconds in my case) to synch up to Exchange Server but I can use it in the meantime.

    Outlook/Exchange Server’s main flaw is that their Web app (OWA, Outlook Web Access) is not very good. Microsoft needs to write a better version of OWA.

    In many cases, clients apps are better than Web apps. Web apps make sense when you don’t need a lot of functionality. I like rich functionality client apps! Lots of people use Web apps when they don’t make sense. VCs are among the worst offenders since they are obsessed with what is new rather than what works. Assuming you just want to get work done (like me), being a late adapter makes a lot more sense.

    I have a subscription to Microsoft Action Pack, which gives me an unlimited number of technical support calls. You’re connected to better support reps than the normal Microsoft support engineers. The few times they have not been able to answer my question, I ask/demand to be connected to a Level II engineer, and they can almost always answer my question. This is one of the biggest problems with Web apps: what kind of technical support is there. I am not interested in email or Web support, I want telephone support, and I want it 24 x 7 x 365. It’s a million times easier to get your problem solved on the telephone than via email. I never have technical questions/problems at 3 pm, I have them at 3 am. I don’t mind paying extra (annual fee or per incident) but most Web apps do not offer technical support, even if you are willing to pay for it. If my email is not working, I want to talk with a good engineer NOW. I do not want to wait three hours to receive back an email that probably will not answer my question. And unlike Brad, I do not want to spend an hour reading 100 different web pages looking for an answer.

    Google does not have a good track record in going the distance with their offerings. Every month I read that Google is discontinuing product A or product B. It is too easy within Google to launch a product. Microsoft is much less quick to launch a product, but they rarely discontinue a product once it is launched. (I’m talking PC/server products, not things like mobile phones. Anyone who buys a Microsoft based phone deserves what will happen to him.) I don’t think Google will discontinue Gmail but it would not surprise me if they change their Terms of Use in the future in a way that hurts users. With Outlook/ES and my own server to run ES on, it’s my software, I can do with it what I want and noone can take it away from me.

    So in my opinion, Brad makes a lot of foolish choices, particularly given his strong IT background. He should know better. It seems like he is willing to bear a lot of switching costs as he tries out a billion different approaches. I don’t have the bandwidth to do so.

    • James – you apparently don’t travel much. Sitting in a hotel room with a laptop connected over 3G waiting 15 minutes for Outlook to sync is not a very productive experience.

      I’ll out up with my occasional glitches with Gmail. My productivity using it to process 500 to 1000 emails a day is worth an occasional 707 error cycle (or the equivalent.)

      Oh – and we had a spectacular 48 hour Exchange server fail that was ultimately unresolvable by Microsoft in the final weeks our of Exchange experience a year ago. The solution via Microsoft after much support help – reinstall Exchange and restore your backup from two days ago. Not a very satisfying answer.

  • PeterB

    As a frequent traveler I will second Brad’s comments on GMail vs. Exchange.  I use both (biz & personnal) and my “velocity” is much higher with Gmail.  To me the more interesting thing here is ability for Google to innovate so much fast than MS because of the SaaS model.  Yes, I will put up with the few glitches and usually quick fixes to have new features sooner rather than later.  I work for a large software company and it takes forever to get upgrades to new versions Exchange/Outlook.

  • Anonymous

    This post was a life saver. Thanks Brad!

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  • Danna Duncan

    There isn’t a “background send” showing under my labs. Any idea how I should proceed?

    • No clue – they might have removed it from labs.

      • Danna Duncan

        Thank you. I restarted and logged back in and there are no more errors when I send email. 🙂 I appreciate your reply.