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What Happened To Google This Week?

There was chaos in the early hours of Tuesday morning as Google temporarily stopped working. What happened and could there be another Google outage?

Luckily, the super rare outage happened as most of us in the UK were sound asleep (2.12 am) and didn’t last that long – ten minutes officially but some users reported issues for up to an hour.

So what went wrong? How rare was this? And what would happen if there was a longer outage?

Google Outage August 9th

Ok, chaos might have been a little bit of an exaggeration but when Google stopped working on Tuesday, people from over 40 countries took to Twitter to find out what the heck was going on:

Many, many Twitter users just wanted to express their disgust at having to use Bing…

Because a Google outage is so rare (most people reported having NEVER seen one), the news obviously set off alarm bells for some folk and it wasn’t too long before conspiracy theories flooded Twitter.

So What Happened?

The Google outage came several hours after an electrical fire at a Google data centre in Iowa. Sadly, several people were injured in the incident but Google has said that the two events are unrelated, telling CNET the following:

“We’re aware of a software update issue that occurred late this afternoon Pacific Time and briefly affected availability of Google Search and Maps, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” the spokesperson said. “We worked to quickly address the issue and our services are now back online.”

So the official line, is we just don’t know!

This is what the outage looked like for millions of people:

What Would Happen With No Google?

The outage was fixed relatively quickly but the thought of living in a world with no Google shivered the timbers of many users. What would the world look like with no Google?

This incident and potential future issues need to be taken seriously as so many businesses rely on Google. Look what happens when Google rolls out updates – some businesses see rankings plummet and whilst it’s an issue that is ‘hidden’ to anyone other than those of us in the SEO industry, falling rankings have the ability to ruin businesses.

As it happens, many SEOs were actually reporting issues with page rankings right after the outage, as reported by Barry Schwartz:

“It seemed to be larger than just an outage because there are tons of complaints about indexing issues, pages dropping out of the index, and super poor quality and dated search results being shown in Google this morning.”

Thankfully, the issues mentioned above seem to have mostly righted themselves this morning but they certainly cause a headache for business owners and people in the SEO world.

A major, long-lasting Google outage would cost businesses millions in lost revenue. This was just a tiny example of what could happen if Google had an issue they couldn’t resolve quickly.

Scary stuff! It’s a good thing this outage was such a rare occurrence and hopefully, we won’t see another.

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