Momentary Google outage causes 40pc drop in web traffic

19 Aug 2013

Some brief down-time recorded across all of Google’s services last Friday appears to have caused a 40pc decrease in online activity, showing just how much users worldwide rely on the internet giant.

The outage occurred before midnight Irish Standard Time (IST) on 17 August when Google services, including search, Gmail and YouTube, all were briefly offline.

Google’s Apps Status Dashboard first noted the issue at 12.37am IST on Saturday, saying that for one to five minutes a significant number of users were unable to access Google services but were receiving error messages or seeing other unexpected behaviour.

Future Human

By 12.48am IST another update had been issued stating that the problem had been resolved and apologising for any inconvenience caused. “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50pc to 70pc of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after four minutes,” Google’s support team stated.

Despite the brevity of the outage, a momentary lack of Google services appears to have had a significant impact on global internet traffic, with real-time web analytics firm GoSquared claiming that global page views per minute dropped by about 40pc.

Google downtime on Friday 16 August (graphed by GoSquared)

Graph showing the drop in global page views per minute, as analysed by GoSquared

“As internet users, our reliance on being up is huge,” said GoSquared developer Simon Tabor. “It’s also of note that page views spiked shortly afterwards, as users managed to get to their destinations.”

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic