Internet Traffic Plunges By 40% As Google Goes Dark For Five Minutes

Want to throw the world into sheer URL panic and outright informational chaos? Then just take out Google.

At least that is what a brief five minute outage of the world’s favorite search engine on Friday night shows, when after all of Google’s services were hit with unprecedented downtime from 3:52 pm until 3:57 pm Pacific Dauylight Time, some 40% of global internet traffic was lobbed off.

As the DailyNews reports, based on web analytics company GoSquared, there was a massive dip in internet traffic during the brief blackout as users struggled to find what it was they were looking for on the worldwide web.

Yet instead of other web-based search engines benefitting from GOOG’s downtime (apparently nobody has heard of Yahoo, despite its attractive CEO gracing the cover of Vogue and engaging in such other serious CEO activities), it was Twitter that saw the surge in traffic:

According to Topsy analytics, tweets per minute skyrocketed around the point that Google went black, from an average of 200 tweets per minute about Google to more than 1,000.

“For five freakin’ minutes!” one Twitter user complained. Another wrote, “Google was down for five minutes… Is it a sign that the END OF THE WORLD has started?”

SkyNews has more:

 The tech company said all of its services from Google Search to Gmail to YouTube to Google Drive went down for between one and five minutes last night.


The reason for the outage is not yet known, and Google refused to provide any further information when contacted by Sky News Online.


“That’s huge,” said GoSquared developer Simon Tabor. “As internet users, our reliance on being up is huge.


“It’s also of note that pageviews spiked shortly afterwards, as users managed to get to their destination.”


A message on the Google Apps Dashboard showed all of its services were hit.

“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,” it said.


A later message said: “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.”


When contacted by Sky News, a spokesman for Google directed us to the dashboard message.


“We have no comment beyond this,” he added.

This is not the first time GOOG has gone dark: the world’s most valuable internet company went down in May 2009 which was later blamed on a massive server failure. Luckily, this time it was down for only 5 minutes. But what would have happened if it was longer, and does the world even have a contingency plansfor any such “just in time” delivery failure of the world’s most valuable commodity: information?

The answer is no and we strongly urge everyone to read Trade-Off”: A Study In Global Systemic Collapse which lays out all the risks of our “just in time” society in plain language.


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