back to article Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world's net traffic

You can all relax now. The near-unprecedented outage that seemingly affected all of Google's services for a brief time on Friday is over. The event began at approximately 4:37pm Pacific Time and lasted between one and five minutes, according to the Google Apps Dashboard. All of the Google Apps services reported being back …


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            1. jake Silver badge

              @AC 14:29 (was: Re: @DAM (was: Who the hell cares?) @Jake)

              Steve wasn't a close, personal friend. He was a good neighbor.

              I didn't build google. I did mentor their founders. Sadly, I failed. The twats.

              I did help work out how to transfer the existing NCP ARPANet to the existing TCP/IP network, though ... and my system has been up, running & available since Flag Day.

              I'm only in my mid 50s, the Manhattan Project was before my time.

  1. Kevin 6
    Thumb Up

    Funny enough it had perfect timing for me

    I was watching a video where a guy was talking about Nintendo and showing his TV while using a Wii U, and he said Now before Nintendo gets my video pulled I have to give out a dis... video died

    I was like wow that's odd hit refresh got server not found, and was like damn that was some DMCA take down.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      HA! They DMCA'd the entire Internet! Makes me think of a commercial I saw a while back about reaching the end of the Internet.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    It must be the changing alpha constant

    Let's see whether Google rolls out one of those special occassion "Google" logos for this next year.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: It must be the changing alpha constant

      "Let's see whether Google rolls out one of those special occassion "Google" logos for this next year."

      A heart monitor readout. Pulse, pulse... long flatline... pulse, pulse. The flatline goes through the letters in the word Google.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    It's alive!

    So Google has finally achieved sentience.

    I guess we all just sit back and wait for it to take over the wor !*(£^&"~~


  4. bazza Silver badge


    It will be interesting to see how Google explain this event.

    It is difficult to think up reasons for the outage that don't put dents in Google's claims of being reliable enough to trust ones entire business to. After all, if you've trusted your entire business to Google's cloud (Docs, mail, everything) then when Google are down there's nothing you can do; you're not working. There's not even a phone number you can call.

    At least if you have your own IT you can go and harry the IT guys.

    Companies are very bad at risk management. It always seems that they refuse to consider highly unlikely scenarios that have devastating consequences. For instance how many outfits are there that have all their IT in a cloud and have an effective Plan B in their sleeve just in case? Companies like Google are highly unlikely to go off line completely for a long stretch, but if all your IT is Googlised and they do vanish for a few days, your business is guaranteed to be in deep trouble.

    So what exactly would a good Plan B be? There's no easy way to start using another cloud because there is no way to do a bulk export of everything (docs, calendars, contacts, sheets and mail, etc) that you can bulk import into another cloud. In fact such a thing would be the very last thing that Google, Microsoft, etc. would want to give you. I know that you can get at the data piecemeal, but file by file and user by user exports and imports is no way to perform disaster recovery.

    Synchronising a cloud with your own IT is more like it, but surely the whole point of a cloud is to avoid having your own IT. Such synchronisation is available only because the cloud providers offer it as a way to get going with a cloud; I don't expect that it will be something that will work reliably and well forever.

    And if you're going to have your own IT then what exactly is the cloud for anyway? Backup?

    To me and presumably anyone else that cares about coping with the ultimate What-If problems clouds just don't meet the requirements. However, with the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google trying very hard to push their customers onto their respective clouds and a large be action of those customers being happy (or stupid) enough to go along with that, what choice will there be for those that want to do things on their own IT?

    Clouds also bring big national risks. Say Google got to the position where 50% of American companies were wholly dependent on Google's cloud for their docs, sheets, contacts databases, etc. That would mean that 50% of the US economy is just one single hack attack away from difficulty and possibly disaster. Is that a healthy position for a national economy to be in? Isn't that a huge big juicy target for a belligerent foe, be they an individual or nation state? After all, Google's networks have been penetrated before (they blamed the Chinese as it happens); why not again?

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Explanation

      "Companies are very bad at risk management. It always seems that they refuse to consider highly unlikely scenarios that have devastating consequences. "

      I agree, but I think it's more a fixation trying to plan for the last disaster, not the next. In a way similar to airline safety, all the checks are to prevent the last hijacking/bombing not the next.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Explanation

        "Companies are very bad at risk management. It always seems that they refuse to consider highly unlikely scenarios that have devastating consequences. "

        I used to work for a large British company.

        One of their Manchester offices was damaged by an IRA bomnb in the 90's.

        The staff were relocated; the servers replaced; but whilst the backups had been completed diligently, and kept safe in the firesafe, no one was allowed access to the site to retrieve them for many weeks, by which time they were virtually useless....

        I guess no one had thought of off site backups....

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: Explanation

          In the same way...

          Nobody thinks about the effect of a real virus. What happens if your entire office staff are laid low with a particularly nasty flu virus?

        2. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: Explanation

          During my PhD, back in the late '80s/early '90s so before anything net other than email and usenet my thesis was stored on 3.5" 'floppies' (1.4Mb eventually). I had three sets:

          A daily working set (didn't always have my own computer with a hard drive)

          A travelling backup set that was updated daily and lived in my backpack (in a plastic disc box)

          A home set that came in once a week to be updated.

          The lab postdoc told of guy back before computers were available for such tasks who gave his handwritten thesis manuscript to a typist to type up, as was common practice. She put it on the back of her moped and set off across town. When she got there only a few pages were left. This was my motivation for backing stuff up. As well as an incident during my honours year (we were the first year to use computers to produce our theses). I took a 400k disc out of a computer, put it in my lab coat pocket and demonstrated a physiology lab. When I went back it would not work. Fortunately I had a backup but I lost a morning's work.

          1. kevjs

            Re: Explanation

            Floppies bit me too, ended up having to get the bus home, copy the files onto another disk then bus back into down and just made the hand in!

            After that I got into the habit of emailing my NTHell world account and hoping Eudora would pull it down before I busted my mailbox limit (or the dial up connection dropped) :(

            For my final year I got into the habit of emailing my final year project to myself every time I was about to shut my laptop down - came in rather handy when I deleted a completed section and didn't notice for a week, and when Office decided it was going to corrupt the document because I'd had the audacity of editing in Office XP and Office 2003.

            One copy on my laptop - a more often than daily copy in my Google Mail account* - and then Eudora pulling those to my desktop at home, and back to my laptop as I went along :)

            * handily activated just in time for my final year to start.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Explanation

      Trust in the cloud. Microsoft's just went down as well as Google's but don't worry, just trust in the cloud.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Explanation

      "It will be interesting to see how Google explain this event."


      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Explanation

        @John Brown,


        Well, that might be their answer, but Googling 6x9 reveals a very dull 54.

        Clearly they've no sense of humour.

    4. Selden

      Re: Explanation

      Nothing in my life is more reliable than Google, certainly not my electric power provider or ISP. If either is out (and at least one, usually electricity, is out for at least a few minutes each month), it doesn't much matter if Google is up or down.

  5. NomNomNom


    Bing wasn't working either

    1. Chika

      Re: Strange

      Yeah, but that's a feature.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Nothing to do with MS/Google youtube spat.

    I mean Google wouldn't fall over even under an MS written HTML5 app would it?

  7. Gert Leboski

    It was Snowden what did it

    He'd only gone and synch'd his mailbox for offline reading, hadn't he?

    He had a LOT of email waiting for him.

  8. Tony Green

    What time was that then?

    Since El Reg is a British site (well, I'm guessing means that), why do you expect your readers to have the foggiest idea when "4:37pm Pacific Time" was?

    Because it means bugger all to me. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: What time was that then?

      Did you try Googling it :)

      Actually, the timeline on the graph is in BST. (Why?)

    2. ElNumbre

      Re: What time was that then?

      Let me WolframAlpha that for you.....

    3. HamsterNet

      Re: What time was that then?

      I think most of us went to school and have a fairly good grasp of what a Time zone is...

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What time was that then?

      @Tony Green:

      My thoughts exactly, and I knew such a comment would get wisearse replies about using Google and understanding timezones...

      Way to miss the point, guys.

      No offence to our West coast friends, but the time should at least also been displayed in .co.UK time!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. 142

        Re: What time was that then?

        El Reg have a very clear, years-old policy that all articles are published based on the conventions of the country in which it was written. In this case, it's clearly stated it's the San Francisco office issuing this article, so PST, and US English.

        It's similar for their Australian office.

        They don't have the personnel to convert every single article to make it sound like it was written in London - especially not at 1am GMT on a Saturday morning!

    5. Alan W. Rateliff, II

      Re: What time was that then?

      I go to "," so I don't know what you're whinging about

  9. AndrueC Silver badge


  10. Hugh 5

    Should the cord be stretched across the room like that?

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Should the cord be stretched across the room like that?

      Don't be silly - the internet is wireless.

  11. jubtastic1

    That's pretty impressive

    Either the whole thing failed or they power cycled it, impressed that a worldwide distributed system with that much traffic came up again in a minute or so and dealt with the backlog seemingly without issue though.

  12. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    Perhaps someone switch off the internet and switched it on again

  13. nuclearstar

    I noticed

    I thought my net went down, until I noticed IRC was still chugging along as normal. Then I thought it was virgin media DNS as by the time I entered googles DNS in my system instead, it appeared to work, so i blamed virgin media, my bad :)

    Only found out it was google today by reading this.

  14. ElNumbre

    The Titanic is made of Iron...

    Murphy was an Optimist.

    I've seen lots of presentations by Google about how they design for reliability and test failure; It will be interesting to see the Major Incident report for this and what lessons can be learned.

    Invent a fool-proof system, someone will hire a better fool.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: The Titanic is made of Iron...

      Anyone can build a system that's fool-proof; with a bit of skill you can even make it idiot-proof; but no-one ever yet built a system that was cretin-proof.

      1. Darryl

        Re: The Titanic is made of Iron...

        Build a system that even an idiot can use, and only an idiot will use it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BOFH asks for payrise

    Boss denies payrise

    BOFH proves point

    Payrise given.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In the last few days Google Mail and Google News seem to be running a lot more Javascript. So much that yesterday it crashed Firefox.

    It could be that FF 23.0 is buggy but these days who knows who is trying out 0 day exploits.

  17. Dr. G. Freeman

    My bad, sorry

    Sorry, needed a bit of extra computer power to run a quick calculation, thought Google would have enough computers to do it.

    turns out the answer was 42.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Switching error?

    Somebody accidentally toggled it from 'blows' to 'sucks' and back again?

  19. KrazyKiller


    "On 2013-08-16 at 2337 Google's data centre computers experienced exponential growth and became self aware...

    Luckily after considering the human condition for 240 seconds they decided couldn't be bothered left..."

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Singularity?

      They probably read the comments on youtube.

  20. JSL

    Someone did it...

    Someone Google'd Google.

  21. Rusty Shakelford

    Just had to activate the new NSA duplicator, sorry for the downtime.


  22. been there, didn't like it

    my bets on a router software update

    you can't stop dumb-finger

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: my bets on a router software update

      ip route null0


      ^Z ^Z ^Z ^Z

      ^C ^C ^C

      copy start run

      wr m


  23. 24 pin connect 12 pin port

    Has the time come for the world's governments to seize control of Google for the good of the internets or is it that way already?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    graph nazi

    No title or labels on the graph. The x-axis is obviously time but I have no idea which time zone. No idea at all what the y-axis is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: graph nazi

      "No idea at all what the y-axis is."

      Cheeseburger orders issued by the Chocolate Factory .


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