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Google, My Google!

Posted by susabelle at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2009

google2I came into work late this morning due to some car trouble, and walked into my computer lab on campus to a choruses of “there’s something wrong with the Internet!”  It’s finals week, so of course there is a lot of anxiety anyway, but mess with these kids’ Internet, and they lose their minds.

Turns out it wasn’t the Internet.  It was Google.  I logged into my desktop machine and tried to launch Gmail, which is one of the first things I do on any given morning, and it would not load.  Oddly enough, neither would the Google home page.  Nor YouTube.  This last one was probably the thing that sent the lab kids over the edge.  They spend half their days on YouTube.

For me, the loss of Gmail is critical, closely followed by Google docs and then the Google search homepage, which I must use a hundred times a day.  By noon, everything was back up and running just fine, but that two hours or so while I couldn’t access some things was pretty tense.  Most of us probably don’t think too much about how much time we spend using Google products, and what a show-stopper it is when it isn’t working.  For me, it impacted me for a couple of hours, but apparently the outage happened much earlier than my arrival at work and for some lasted about four hours or so.

Google is not yet revealing what the problem is, but promises to do so soon.  I am wondering what the explanation will be when it comes out.

And in the end, what risk are we taking by putting so many eggs in the Google basket?  I like their products and use them regularly, but extended down-time can be a real deal killer.  I don’t have a job where anything that was caught up in a short Google outage is going to keep me from getting my job done, but an extended outage could lead to very real consequences.

Things to ponder on a Thursday.