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Pokemon Go hit 50x traffic target, putting Google to the test

So many people jumped into the game, Google and Niantic had to take measures akin to "switching out a plane's engine in-flight."

Demand for Pokemon Go was so great it tested Google's behind-the-scenes systems.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Online traffic for Pokemon Go was 50 times greater than expected, severely testing a new way of dealing with cloud services at Google.

That's according to a blog post by Luke Stone, Google's director of customer reliability engineering. Typically, he said, people adopt a new product or service slowly, but not this time -- the explosive growth of Pokemon Go upon its launch in July was unlike anything he'd witnessed before.

Stone detailed how Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go, was the first to test a new feature in which Google and its clients share responsibility for the reliability of cloud-based products and services. Within 15 minutes of the mobile game's launch in Australia and New Zealand, demand was so heavy that Niantic called Google for backup.

The worst-case scenario had been set at five times Niantic's target. Problem was, traffic shot up to 10 times greater than that, or 50 times the original target. No wonder players faced problems with the game in its early days.

Google and Niantic worked to meet this increased demand by upgrading the software system, which Stone compares to "swapping out [a] plane's engine in-flight."

The smash hit game, which sees you roaming the real world to catch cutesy creatures, has been downloaded more than 500 million times since launch.

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