Thursday, May 14, 2009

Google Down?

Here in the Northeast, outages are fairly common: A big thunderstorm sweeps in, knocks over a tree or two, takes out a power line and BAM! A whole city block goes dark!

Or if you happen to be in KY this past winter, it seems like half the state was taken out by an unusually rough ice storm.

So even if we've come to depend on vital resources like power and water, we know that there are times when things just go bad and we have to rough it for a little while.

Which is exactly what happened with Google this morning.

The issue probably would have been pushed over into the "vital resources like power and water are having a bad day so rough it for a little while" category, except that many of us simply didn't know what was happening. And when people don't have information, or can't get information, they come up with their own reasons, which usually leads to misinformation, speculation, and some very 'emotional reactions'.

Still not sure what happened to the service provider giant. Don't know if a rogue tree took out power station, if a fiber line was cut, or if it was just rogue code, but for a many of us that depend on the provider for news, stats, email, communication and searches, we were reminded of just how much Google has become intertwined into our daily lives.

Most of the information I saw was obtained from a search on Twitter which revealed how widespread this outage was. I was also able to find that the Google team was updating Google News to incorporate YouTube videos and that for about three hours this morning, Google News was unavailable.

But it appears that things are coming back online now so I guess my time off is at an end.

The lesson here is to create your Twitter account so that you don't have a single point of failure for your communication channels.

For more information on the outage, see the CNET reports here for Google News and here for the Google Outage.

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