August 22nd, 2013 by Lloyd Gofton
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Google went down, or disappeared, we had a glimpse into the ensuing digital apocalypse last Friday evening.
Google was offline for two minutes and the impact was a 40% drop in worldwide web traffic.
The event, which began at 23:52 BST on Friday, affected every single service Google offers, including YouTube and Gmail. Everything went dark for between one and five minutes, but was back online by 23:57.
Google’s statement after the issue was as follows: “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50 percent to 70 percent of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after 4 minutes.”
This is a real insight into the importance of Google to the health of the Web. But the story doesn’t end there, in fact there have been other similar outages recently at Microsoft, New York Times, Intel and most recently Amazon.
On Monday, visitors to the US shopping site were greeted with a message saying: “Oops! We’re very sorry,” alongside a “500 Service Unavailable Error” report.
The site returned online about half an hour after the problem was first flagged by users of Reddit. The UK site was unaffected.
The support section of Intel’s website, and some pages which are only accessible to Intel staff, also became unavailable for a period on Monday.
A spokesperson said this was due to an “internal issue” and it was a coincidence that it had occurred shortly after Amazon’s problem.
It’s a laughable notion that this number of major organisations suffering an ‘issue’ within a matter of weeks is a coincidence. However, no one has been able to come up with a reason, or in fact admit responsibility.
I’m sure the truth will come out eventually, but outages on this scale are a rare thing indeed.