For a few minutes late last week, Google suffered a pretty serious and as-of-now unexplained outage: All of Google’s services were unable for a few minutes. While a few minutes without Google doesn’t exactly sound catastrophic, the effect it had on the web worldwide was profound.
According to analytics firm GoSquared, there was a drop of 40 percent in all the page views that it tracked across the web. This graph doesn’t represent all web traffic of course, but it’s a large chunk of users that were suddenly unable to visit certain sites or pages:
The most likely reason for this is that there’s not only a ton of people that find content via Google searches, but a good number of them also use it to navigate to websites they might normally visit instead of using bookmarks. There are also pages which have elements that rely on Google’s services, so it was likely more difficult to load those pages at the time — if they loaded properly at all.
Finally, Google DNS was also down. Google offers a free public DNS service that’s used by many (including me), so when that went down too, it was as if the entire internet wasn’t working at all. This most definitely contributed in the drop in web traffic during the outage.
The outage, despite how brief it was, shows that Google isn’t just a big internet company. I’d say that it’s now a very important part of the internet itself.