Google Outage Considered 'Near-Unprecedented'
August 19, 2013

Online Traffic Plummets 40 Percent During Friday Night Google Outage

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Typically, when one Internet-based firm goes offline for a couple of minutes, it’s no big deal and life goes on as normal. Unless that firm happens to be Google – then the results are borderline catastrophic.

According to Neil McAllister of The Register, all of the Mountain View, California-based company’s online services (including Search, Gmail, Drive and YouTube) were affected by a “near-unprecedented outage” starting at 4:37pm PDT on Friday night.

Those services were reportedly unavailable for between one and five minutes, and all of the Google Apps services were said to be back online by 4:48pm PDT, McAllister said. “Big deal, right? Everyone has technical difficulties every once in a while. It goes with the territory,” he added. “But then, not everyone is Google.”

As it turns out, an outage that would have just been a blip on the radar for many websites wound up causing Internet traffic to plunge by approximately 40 percent, according to Simon Tabor, a developer with GoSquared (the Web analytics firm that reported the decrease in traffic), called it “huge.”

Phil Dearson, head of strategy for ad agency Tribal Worldwide, told CNET UK’s Joe Svetlik the brief blackout cost Google approximately £330,000 ($516,000). He also called it a “massive surprise” for all of Google’s services to go out at once, though Svetlik pointed out the same kind of thing happened in 2009.

The company acknowledged the issues on their Apps Dashboard, but did not elaborate on the cause, Svetlik said. During the outage, they said they were “aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users,” and a later message reported 50 to 70 percent of Google users received errors, he added.

Last week, Microsoft acknowledged their, Messenger and SkyDrive services experienced similar outages. Unlike Google’s brief issues, however, Microsoft’s technical difficulties left some users without access to email and cloud services for several hours as redOrbit’s own Michael Harper reported on Thursday.