I've been a fan of the Google keiretsu for a long time. Adwords is a brilliant piece of technology, and a brilliant piece of business: it works so well because everyone wins. More recently, they've started to hit some of the people scaling problems you see in big companies. In particular, the authentication system is seriously broken.
I've had a "Google Apps" account for a few years now. I got sick of endlessly tweaking spam detection rules, and decided it was probably time to start using a graphical email client. It's been great for that: spam detection is better than ever with less than five spams a year polluting my inbox in general, and the Gmail UI is sensational and gets better by the day.
The problems started, however, when I discovered I actually had three Google accounts. One was an old test account I'd always used for signing up to Google things. Another was my Google Apps account, which was the same as my email address. Another was an invisibly-created, but different, one that lived behind the scenes at the same email address. It seemed to own a few services that didn't support "Google Apps" accounts, somehow. It wasn't normally a big deal.
Then came the new version of the whole Google Apps, which required migrating that hidden non-Apps account into the Apps account. I kicked off the process, but now half of Google's services don't work. I was warned that some things wouldn't, like AdWords and the like. No problem. What I wasn't warned of was that basic functions would stop working. Like Google Help. And the Google Help forums. I get a message like that above. I'm not trying to do anything funky mind, just browsing to a link from the Help within Google Apps itself!
Worse yet, other things are broken too. The Android Market no longer seems to let me buy anything. Google Latitude doesn't work. And I'm constantly finding new things I can't do while logged into my Google accounts.
It's not like this is a transient problem. It's been going on for some time now. Colossal balls up is how I'd describe it.
I think it's time for Google to, at least in some parts, start behaving more like a traditional IT company. At least the bits providing services that people pay for! Time to get project managers, and test plans, and DEV/TEST/STAGE/PROD environments. Boring yes, but essential if you want things to actually work in the real world when you've got complex, interconnected services.