Google apologizes for outage
Internet giant Google apologized on Thursday after a technical problem left millions of people unable to use popular services such as its main search page, Google Mail and Google News.
The hour-long outage affected Web surfers not only in the United States but in other countries and numerous other services including Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Analytics and video-sharing site YouTube.
Micro-blogging service Twitter lit up throughout the morning with comments and complaints about the outage at the company which controls more than 60 percent of the US online search market alone.
Some users were unable to use Google sites at all while others complained that they were performing sluggishly.
The Mountain View, California-based Google said in a post on the official company blog that "an error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our Web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam.
"As a result, about 14 percent of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions," Google said.
"We've been working hard to make our services ultrafast and 'always on,' so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens," Google said. "We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again."
Google said the outage began at 7:48 am Pacific time (1448 GMT) and lasted for about an hour.
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, described it as a "broad outage, a surprisingly broad outage."
He told AFP such a failure would just be an annoyance to the average Web user but could have a serious impact on Google's attempts to promote some of its Web-based applications to businesses.
"Their efforts to have some of their services, in particular their apps, and to a lesser extent Gmail, treated as serious business services that one can use instead of locally installed and maintained apps could be seriously undermined by a major outage like that," he said.
Sam Diaz, a senior editor at technology news site ZDNet, said the outage should not scare businesses away from Web-based cloud computing but "businesses should use this opportunity to put more thought into contingency plans.
"Maybe companies that are thinking about adopting a cloud strategy -- such as Google Apps -- need to look into backup clouds," Diaz wrote on his blog.
Google also experienced a breakdown in February of Gmail, leaving millions of people worldwide without access to the free Web-based email service for a few hours.