Google search outage affects tens of thousands of users

Alphabet Inc.’s Google search and website temporarily stopped working for some users, setting off confusion and a torrent of memes about what to do without the world’s most popular online engine.

User reports of issues with the service began inundating Downdetector, an outage-tracking service focused on the US, from around 9 p.m. New York time on Monday and numbered more than 40,000 an hour later. Problems loading the Google web site and performing searches were also observed in Taiwan and Japan, though the services appeared to be intermittently available.

Google’s signature product is known for its ubiquity and reliability and service disruptions of this kind are rare. The most common causes of such failures are back-end web infrastructure, such as those experienced by Fastly and Amazon Web Services last year.

The service appeared to be mostly restored at just before 10 p.m. New York time. 

There was an electrical incident at a Google facility in Iowa on Monday, sending three people to a nearby hospital, according to local media reports. It’s not clear whether the episode is related to the service outage.

A representative for Alphabet didn’t immediately provide comment for this story. A spokesperson provided the following statement to SFGate:

“We are aware of an electrical incident that took place today at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people onsite who are now being treated. The health and safety of all workers is our absolute top priority, and we are working closely with partners and local authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation and provide assistance as needed.”

Image credits: Bloomberg