The Day Google Stood Still...
Websites occasionally go down, and we simply recognize that as a natural part of life. But earlier today, when Google, of all sites, went down for a considerable amount of time, it had quite the traumatizing effect.
Around 11am EST, every Google service was either wiped off the internet or was running extremely slow for a large number of users. Even the basic Google home page - the search engine - was only creeping along slowly, and the list of other Google services affected included YouTube, Gmail, Google Reader, Blogger, Google Analytics, Google Maps, and Google Apps.
Personally, when my Gmail account was suddenly unavailable, the feeling of panic was largely indescribable. We've all become so dependent on Google, far more than any other website, that many people reacted either by becoming paralyzed like a deer in headlights not knowing what to do with themselves from shock, or else freaked out and expressed their rage all over Twitter and, really, whatever other outlet was available to them. That guy you heard a few cubicles down from you screaming and cursing his head off... well, now you know.
Rest assured, Google finally got their act together and the site is now up-and-running again. The dangers of significant downtime have always been apparent for cloud computing, but today's crash was truly an eye-opening experience for a public that has grown rather complacent and probably takes the reliability of most web services for granted.
Regardless, the planet is now free to let out a collective sigh of relief.