Google outage causes a stir

By James Riches topicIcon Internet News

Google sees five-minute outage on Friday

Google services were unavailable for a brief spell on Friday night, with users unable to access any of the site's features for up to five minutes. The main homepage, Gmail and YouTube were among the features affected.

Analysts have suggested there was a 40% drop in internet traffic during this period, showing the extent to which Google dominates the online world. It has also been reported that the outage will have cost Google around half a million dollars.

Despite this, many also suggested that the traffic fall was cancelled out by a spike immediately after services returned to normal. Others have also pointed out that $500,000 is not a particularly large amount of money to Google and as such would not be too great a concern.

Google's response

Google did acknowledge the issue, posting a message to the Google Apps Dashboard that stated:

We're aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users. The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages and/or other unexpected behaviour.

Once the problem was corrected, an updated message read:

Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50% to 70% of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after four minutes.

Various news outlets have attempted to get further comment from Google on the issue, but so far the company has stated it has nothing more to add.

Most observers appear to agree that this is an isolated anomaly rather than the result of some sort of attack, and it seems unlikely that people will dwell on this unless it happens again in the near future.

After a recent survey suggested customer satisfaction rates for search engines were at their lowest since 2003, Google will be hoping to avoid such an occurrence.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "As Google is such a vital component in the everyday lives of most internet users, it is unsurprising that this issue has received a lot of attention. However, the problem was resolved quickly and you can bet Google will be looking into what happened to make sure there is no repeat."