To some people, it was the first sign of the apocalypse: Google was down. Yes, the Google and yes, actually down. (You can see why this might look like the beginning of the end.)
As with many end-of-days scares, however, this one proved to be a false alarm. Yes, Google was actually down, but the world did not end, as was supposed . Google explained and apologized for the failure in a blog post. Unfortunately, their analogy used some slightly apocalyptic imagery:
Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia. And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too . . .
Am I the only one picturing a mid-air crash now?
I am? Oh. Sorry about that. Anyway, the rest of the explanation:
so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected. That’s basically what happened to some of our users today for about an hour, starting at 7:48 am Pacific time.
Yes, they actually started routing traffic through a server in Asia. For a whole hour, some benighted souls (14% of Google users, according to the blog post) couldn’t find [cebu lyrics aluminum] or [river jordan crocodiles]. You know, unless they deigned to turn to Yahoo or something.
But seriously, Google has a reputation for up time. I highly doubt this glitch will cost them a substantial amount of users, but it does go to show that the search giant isn’t completely invulnerable.
And they also handled it well, working quickly to fix the problem and to explain it—and even to apologize:
We’ve been working hard to make our services ultrafast and “always on,” so it’s especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We’re very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we’ll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won’t happen again. All planes are back on schedule now.
If nothing else, this is a good example of how to defuse a potentially damaging situation.
What do you think? Is there anything Google could have done better?