Google outage causes 40 per cent slump in global web traffic

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A five minute outage that left millions of Google customers unable to use the search giant's web services is reported to have caused a 40 per cent drop in worldwide internet traffic.

Scores of web users across the globe were affected by the outage, which resulted in all of its services including search, Google Drive, Gmail and YouTube - going offline for between one and five minutes on Friday 16 August.

During the downtime, users were reportedly able to access Google services, but were greeted with error messages and other unexpected behaviour when they tried to use them.

At the time of writing, Google was remaining tight-lipped about the cause of Friday's downtime, but had apologised to the "significant" subset of users affected by the outage.

"The problem...should be resolved. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," the company said in a post on its service status page.

"Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

According to a report by web analytics firms GoSquared Engineering, the downtime created a huge slump in the number of real-time page views it tracked on Friday afternoon.

In a blog post, the company said its findings highlight just how dependent web users are on Google's services.

" was down for a few minutes...on 16 August 2013. This had a huge effect in the number of page views coming into GoSquared's real-time tracking around a 40 per cent drop," the blog post stated.

"That's huge. As internet users, our reliance on being up is huge. It's also of note that page views spiked shortly afterwards, as uses managed to get to their destination," it added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.