Posted by: Rob Hof on May 15, 2009
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.