There's no disputing the fact that Google exerts tremendous power over our online lives, but the extent of its reach was made crystal clear late last week.
For still unexplained reasons all of Google's services were down briefly around 3:51 pm PT. Here, as reported by InformationWeek Security, is Google's explanation as posted on its Apps Status Dashboard: "Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50% to 70% of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after 4 minutes."
Just another example of the typical lack of transparency from the executives at Mountain View. The lack of an explanation doesn't surprise me at all. Google's approach is always to be obsessively secretive about its own operations while demanding maximum transparency about everybody else.
But here's what made my jaw drop. When Google crashed, as reported by Forbes, GoSquared, a real time analytics company, showed a 40 percent drop in Internet traffic. There was a 50 percent increase when the services were running again.
It boggles the mind that one company could so dominate the Internet.
And what was the impact on Google? The Financial Times reports that the company may have lost $500,000 in revenue during the outage, but that is trivial to a company that pulled in more than $50 billion last year.
Analysts told The Financial Times they were confident the outage wasn't the result of hackers, quoting one as saying, "Somebody in Mountain View probably unplugged something, then plugged it back in."
But just think of the power that one company -- Google --exerts over the Internet. Isn't that a reason for concern?