Google goes down for 5 minutes, Internet traffic drops 40%

Google suffered an outage affecting all of its services on Friday night, causing global Web traffic to plummet.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Google suffered an outage late on Friday night, though you might not have noticed -- it only went down for five minutes. During that brief window, Internet traffic around the world dropped by a massive 40 per cent, according to Web analytics firm GoSquared, Sky News Online reports.

All Google's services were unavailable for those five minutes, including Google Search, YouTube, and Google Drive.

Commenting on the 40 per cent drop in Web traffic, GoSquared developer Simon Tabor said, "That's huge. As Internet users, our reliance on Google.com being up is huge."

Google's Apps Dashboard showed all its services were hit by the outage. But the company wouldn't be drawn on what caused it.

"We're aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users," a note on the Apps Dashboard read. "The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages and/or other unexpected behaviour."

A later message read: "Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50 per cent to 70 per cent of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after four minutes." (That would've been just before midnight Friday night UK time.)

When contacted by Sky News Online, a Google spokesperson said they had no comment beyond the Dashboard message.

Phil Dearson, head of strategy for ad agency Tribal Worldwide, estimated the blackout had cost Google around £330,000. He said it was a "massive surprise" for all of Google's services to go down at once.

But it's not the first time it's happened. Google suffered a similar blackout in 2009. And just a few months ago, Google Drive went down.

Still, that 40 per cent stat is a bit alarming. Are we too reliant on Google now? Did you suffer from the outage? How can we make Google less vital to our lives? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.