As of approx. 4:30PM CST, Google, Google News, GMail, and other Google services are offline. While the cause of the outage is yet unknown, any downtime (currently running into its second hour) for a major service such as Google cannot be good.
Google has been struck by problems recently in the wake of the release of their Google Web Accelerator. It emerged that users visiting sites where they can log in - including Neowin - are being logged in as other users of the service. In addition, the program caused problems by prefeching pages on web scripts that could potentially cause harm to the users online data.
Updated: In total, the search engine was down for about an hour and early reports that the site was victim of a DNS poisoning attack were apparently incorrect. They were based around the appearance of a site called "SoGo Search" when one surfer typed google.com into his browser. Safari couldn't find that site so cycled round and ended up on google.com.net - which redirects to that page.
In a statement, Google spokesman David Krane said the problem was related to DNS - but was apparently down to a problem at Google's end. "It was not a hacking or a security issue," said Krane.
News source: In House