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Google's Outage Affected More than Google Users; Other Sites Hit Too

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 15, 2009

Much of the kerfuffle over Google’s hourlong outage for some users today centered on the impact to those direct users—the people who were trying to search or get their email on Gmail.

But the Web site performance monitoring service Gomez says a lot of other sites were affected too—those that use little-noticed Google services such as Google Analytics. If a site used Google Analytics, for instance, which helps sites track what pages and content generate the most revenue, then once Analytics stopped working, the sites would stall while trying to call up the service, says Imad Mouline, Gomez’s chief technology officer. “The impact is much broader than just Google’s own sites,” he says.

Indeed, he says a very large number of sites Gomez monitors suddenly started performing poorly once Google’s outage happened. In 238 of 560 global regions Gomez tracks Web performance for, response times more than doubled, some many more than that—such as Target, whose Web site took 81 seconds to load at one point.

This collateral damage only goes to show how intrinsic Google services, not just obvious ones like search and email, have become to so many Web sites. When Google dies, the Internet doesn’t die, but it sure slows down for all intents and purposes.

To be fair, Google isn’t the only issue. Fact is, Web sites routinely call on a half-dozen or more outside services, from ad networks to analytics programs, to serve up content to their visitors. This Lego approach isn’t going to change, because one site simply can’t develop and run all the services it needs in an increasingly interconnected online business world.

But the impact of Google alone today on so many sites no doubt will leave many of them wondering if they want to depend on one company for so much.

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Reader Comments


May 15, 2009 03:44 PM

so much for technology.. there will always be problems with machines. people would fall apart if all computers ever went down. this country is ran by computers, i love my computer but i don't have to have it to live like most people do.

Sage's sasge

May 15, 2009 04:20 PM

"i love my computer but i don't have to have it to live.."
Posted the guy, from HIS COMPUTER.
Fundamental error my friend.


May 15, 2009 04:27 PM

there is a new technology coming that will really knock your socks off...

wolfram | alpha

welcome to the future...

John Rogers

May 15, 2009 04:49 PM

Maybe this is reason enough to go back to an unplugged life? The pace of everything these days has taken more and more of our humanity away. We're all merely drones, slaving away for our machines. I love my computer, but would like to be able to enjoy life without it now and then. Is there any humanity left? or do we all just hide under the components of our machines?

AJ Franklin

May 15, 2009 04:58 PM

Still can't open GMail at 2300 GMT


May 15, 2009 05:28 PM

@John Rogers. because overcoming being a slave to our vehicles is really working out for us. perhaps it isn't that we need to detach but find a way to use it to connect...oh, wait. we already have facebook.

using personal discretion is amazing.


May 15, 2009 07:36 PM

With NoScript, google analytics shows blocked on numerous sites. Tho I wonder how that would affect a user accessing the site during the outage.


May 19, 2009 05:06 AM

Too many technologies coming everyday,
I enjoy the convenience of accessing information but I also enjoy the life in the society. These new technologies have make us spending a lot of time on learning to use them........

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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