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Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world's net traffic

Systemwide outage knocks every service offline

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You can all relax now. The near-unprecedented outage that seemingly affected all of Google's services for a brief time on Friday is over.

The event began at approximately 4:37pm Pacific Time and lasted between one and five minutes, according to the Google Apps Dashboard. All of the Google Apps services reported being back online by 4:48pm.

The incident apparently blacked out every service Mountain View has to offer simultaneously, from Google Search to Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, and beyond.

Big deal, right? Everyone has technical difficulties every once in a while. It goes with the territory.

But then, not everyone is Google. According to web analytics firm GoSquared, worldwide internet traffic dipped by a stunning 40 per cent during the brief minutes that the Chocolate Factory's services were offline. Here's the graph of what that looked like:

Graph of world internet traffic during August 16 Google outage

When Google goes dark, the internet KNOWS FEAR! (click to enlarge / source: GoSquared)

Even the hardened tech veterans here at Vulture Annex in San Francisco had trouble figuring out what to do during the outage. One stalwart reporter announced that he would try using Bing, at which brows were furrowed. Another asked the question that was doubtless echoed all across the West Coast: "Can we go home, then?"

Fortunately for all of us, everything seemed to come back online minutes later. But exactly how an operation like Google's can even go dark like that, all at once, is anybody's guess.

The Reg contacted the folks in Mountain View to see if they can account for the outage, but a spokesperson only directed us to the aforementioned dashboard. We'll fill you in with any further information as it emerges.

Whatever details eventually do come to light, however, expect a lot of amazed – and nervous – talk around the water coolers in data centers everywhere next week. ®

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