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Why is Google silent on its outage?

Why is Google silent on its outage?

Google experienced a massive outage Friday night 8/16.   All of its services were disrupted, and while it was only down for a period of just under five minutes, the blackout had a rather large impact on internet traffic overall.

From the Daily Mail:

Worldwide internet traffic plunged by about 40 per cent as Google services suffered an ‘unprecedented’ black-out, web experts have revealed.

The tech company said all of its services from Google Search to Gmail to YouTube to Google Drive went down for between one and five minutes last night but it refused to elaborate on the reasons why.

According to web analytics firm GoSquared, global internet traffic fell by around 40% during the black-out, reflecting Google’s massive grip on the web.

‘That’s huge,’ GoSquared developer Simon Tabor told Sky News. ‘As internet users, our reliance on being up is huge.

‘It’s also of note that pageviews spiked shortly afterwards, as users managed to get to their destination.’

But since the outage, Google has offered barely any information about the cause.  While it acknowledged that the outage occurred, it has said nothing further about it since then, leaving many speculating about the cause.

From Sky News:

Three days on, Google is still refusing to offer any explanation.

The tech firm’s representatives in the US and UK directed Sky News to its message on the Google Apps Dashboard.

All that reveals is that all of Google’s services were hit and went down for between one and five minutes.

The US firm provided no details for what may have caused the disruption, which has caused much speculation on IT forums.

“Unfortunately beyond the information on our Apps Status Board we have nothing further to comment,” a spokesman said.

That’s great for Google that it doesn’t seem to have suffered any damage as a result of the incident.  But in the interest of transparency, it would be beneficial if Google shared details about the cause and other impacts of Friday’s outage with others, so that anyone impacted can take appropriate corrective measures for the future.

What gives, Google?


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Maybe they had to take everything down to prep for the weekly data dump to NSA?

It was just a test.

The cleaning lady pulled the plug from the wall so she could vacuum the carpet.

Probably working on something, with engineers there, when something went kaput, briefly. And, something “inside” got put in, to replace something on the fritz.

What makes you think Google owes you an explanation?

    “What makes you think Google owes you an explanation?”

    Because Google has customers that depend on it to run their businesses. If it turns out the cause was a hacking (I don’t think it was, just a hypothetical example), might not that affect how you plan your operations going forward?

    If your electric company just shut off your power for a week and didn’t say a word to you about it, you wouldn’t expect an explanation?

      Carol Herman in reply to Mandy Nagy. | August 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      You can hear their transformer explode.

      If it was just something equipment would do while engineers were “looking to rid their servers of a problem” … And, what it needed was a disconnect to screw up NSA … Why would they ever publicly admit a reason?

      Yes, if people lost data during this down time they’d probably sue.

      Meanwhile Google’s made a choice.

      Maybe a fiber got cut? And, now you know how long it takes to switch to “backup?”

      only if you are paying.
      if using their services for free I feel they owe you (not you personally) nothing.
      which is exactly what they did and is exactly how they have always operated.
      try getting an answer out of them for canceling an adsense account 1 day before payout. the TOS says they can cancel you at any time for any reason but they are not required to tell you anything and they won’t.
      bunch of conservative leaning sites got hit with this in 2011-early 2012.
      wish people would really take a look at how they operate and make better choices.

There’s something called an “air gap.” It can be used to describe a computer you keep off the net, entirely. So no spyware can enter?

Maybe, here, the gap was also to cleanse something out?

The “co-operation” I can fathom between Google and NSA, is that we have secret courts. Their subpoenas are no joke. And, ALL companies, as far as they can, cooperated. Google has lawyers on the spot. So any requested traffic goes to the lawyers, first. (And, companies may be working to find ways of complying that doesn’t expose other users?)

We don’t know. Because NSA has a “gag” rule.

Ed Snowden uncovered all this mischief. (Jesse Ventura is also working on a hair raising conspiracy theory.)

And, Glenn Greenwald has not released ALL the material he got from Snowden.

Maybe, Google tried a “gap” to test equipment that could take over if there was signal outage? But they don’t owe anyone an explanation. (Short of the government sending in a secret FISA request.)

We can “thank” john roberts for FISA.

With 723 techs working simultaneously, should be able to install the Y-beam splitter on all 723 fiber optic lines in 2-4 minutes. Half to Google—-half to ??? Both lines full digital content.

Patching in NSA would not require air-gapping, or any other kind of down time. Unless it was a ‘route through’ instead of ‘copy to’, and I doubt that. In layman’s terms, ‘giving the NSA a global kill switch for the Internet’. Even then, they’d have done it ‘one at a time’ so as not to raise alarms and publicity.

It actually is more likely to have been an attack on the root servers, to speculate.

No massive concurrent ‘splitter installation’ required. The ‘splitters’ are already there, online, and you just have to plug in another fiber and change the access file, etc.

Or just a plain old garden variety fuck-up somewhere. Shit happens.

The gubmint is somehow involved. And I’m not wearing my tin foil hat. This is too big to explain away otherwise.

Like with Obamacare, re-routing servers through the Utah Data Center is bound to have “glitches”.

Amazon is down at the moment, and has been for several minutes. Some kind of hacking going on?

3:16 PM EST 8/19/2013 – AMAZON IS DOWN !

This is too strange to be a coincidence ! I saw a blog ‘amazon down’ and tested it – Amazon is down !

It tracert’s to and stops. I don’t know, and it doesn’t respond either.

First Google, then Amazon ??? WTF ???

Something VERY big is going on here, folks.

Here is a related legal question. My wife wanted to see “Book of Mormon” in Dallas. She Googled for the opera house in Dallas that is hosting the event. A site popped up with the web address of what would appear to be the opera house. She went there and the site looked appropriate. Called the representative and went through purchasing. Tickets never arrived. Called AMX and they have the site under investigation and apparently it is a known rip. This site is number one on the Google list, so, if Google is keeping the site up, and they don’t know the content and reliability of what they are giving a consumer, do they share in the fraud?

    No. They do not ‘keep the site up’, they merely link to a few billion web sites and pages. They are not responsible for all the content on the Internet, sorry.

      david7134 in reply to pjm. | August 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Google has positioned the site so that it is first in the query. I realize that Google does not maintain site. Then I looked and Google has the site in the brown box, meaning that they are accepted money for advertising. To me, that makes Google complicit in any activity.

        Do you apply the same logic to other paid ad media ? When that kitchen gadget from the infomercial turns out to be a cheap POS, or your new Ford rides rough, does NBC or Time Warner or Dish owe you anything ?

          david7134 in reply to pjm. | August 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

          In many cases the answer would be yes. And I have profited as a result. You seem bitter and angry, why not relax and try to give a positive response?

Amazon back up @ 3:39 EDT, was down for ~ half an hour. Strange.

Mediacom was out for about 2 hours this morning (11am-1pm CDT). Normally, an outage with them means the modem can’t connect to Mediacom (N central IL) – but this morning, it remained connected, just no internet connection and no VOIP (my own device through Callcentric).

Since the modem was connected, I think that means their authentication server and name servers were working, just their backbone connection was down.

You never heard of Duranty? Since when has the NY Times been “pro Jew?” It’s liberal (left wing). Has been all its life. And, it’s shed customers like nobody’s business. Plus, it got done in by technology when their Classifieds were no longer the place you’d go to when you wanted to find your lost dog.

They also don’t have to report stuff “against Israel” by having reporting staff on the ground in Cairo. And, not since Laura Logan’s experience do any of the journalists tell you that IF they had boots on the ground, there, they’d need rape kits among their supplies.

Now, let’s look at the claim: Israel wants to work with the Egyptian military to solve the combustable problem from the Bedouins, which also houses the Silafists. In the Sinai.

Israel built an impenetrable wall (where it once thought the sands alone would work) … so that refugees from africa could be stopped from flowing over its border.

These terrorists just killed dozens of Egyptian police. My guess is that there will be retaliation. It “might” involve flooding those tunnels used by Hamas? That the Egyptian military isn’t “blind” “down there” could be proof positive that Israel’s Mossad has connections with Egyptian intelligence … and this might spread like a blanket over the area … Where the NY Times suspects “controls are in place.” Maybe, involving body bags. But no information really comes there way. While they’re jumping up and down. They can’t see over the screen.

And, “assumptions” don’t create reality.

That Israel has clout in that region? Oh, I suppose so. Obama has very little of it left right now. So whom would be better to ask? Even if they tell you “no comment.”

The good news. Bibi’s mistake of releasing murderers didn’t cause Israel to “fold its tent.”

As a matter of fact what’s missing is the “no flying pants zone,” which everyone thinks the US is gonna pull out of its magic hat. Will magic be brought to a whole new level?

It’s probably nothing. The internet is based on people doing a somewhat competent job and nothing going wrong. Just one individual “peer” making a typo can take google down.

    pjm in reply to imfine. | August 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    The Interenet is based on massively redundant, mult-path everything, specifically to be as immune as possible to excatly what you say – ‘single point failure’.

    Google and Amazon both have spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating their own ‘massively redundant systems’.

    No ‘typo’ can take them down world-wide.

    At the same time, do note, all of Microsoft’s online services were down for 3 days.

    Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, all with extended outages, withn a few days of each other ?

    Some SERIOUS shit is going down.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to pjm. | August 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Uplink to the new Utah NSA facility.

        NOpe. That will happen (or has happened) one link at a time, one peering tie-in at a time, one fiber at a time, just ‘plugging it in’, and will no more require any kind of network outage than a company plugging in another server on their LAN.

        WORST case, the equivalent of replacing a router, the redundant routing (BGP) would take over and re-direct traffic to one of many redundant data centers. The same way if some backhoe operator digs up a fiber, at worst a few local connection are lost or slowed, bu the Internet does not lose 40 % of its traffic, nor does Google, Microsoft, nor Amazon go dark.

      ZooMaster in reply to pjm. | August 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

      I might be inclined to agree but Murphy’s Law has not yet been repealed and we must account for the random nitwit-with-a-hangover-and-a-warrantless-over-estimation-of-the-effectiveness-of-his/her-programming-kung-fu. The probability of catastrophic system crapification increases exponentially in direct proportion to the size and complexity of the network involved. 🙂

Google can’t tell us what happened, because they don’t know what happened. They’re still trying to figure it out.

Barack Obama probably fell asleep at his desk and banged his head on the Internet Kill Switch.

Phew! Having read only the original post, I was going to turn to the Comments and suggest that the Professor turn the thread over to the conspiracy theorists as, I believe, he has done at least once in the past.

I’m glad to see the tin-foil hat battalion can think for itself and seize the ripe opportunity when it sees it. As for myself, I was gonna suggest that the Goog and the NSA got into some kind of galactic pi55ing match and BHO hit the kill pickle just to prove he could. Just sayin’…

40% of world internet traffic? Maybe they’re worried about an antitrust suit? That’s why the all the silence from Google. Just an observation.

It took that long to instal the new government spyware?

Friday nights are pretty common around the tech world for maintenance windows. Offices are done for the day, people are out and about and not at their computers, etc. I doubt this has anything to do with NSA, XKeyStore, or any other evil government spyware.

It’s more likely the fault of an overworked (now unemployed) network engineer who made a mistake to a routing table, firewall rule, proxy cluster, or some other front end appliance.