Google Goes Black for Full 5 Minutes Over the Weekend, Traffic Drops 40 Percent

Imagine if, for whatever reason, Google one day decided to pull the plug on all of its operations and shut down its servers without notice. It wouldn't quite be what some imagined Y2K to be like, but given how popular Google services like Search, Gmail, and Docs are to the masses, it would be a shock to the Internet system if Google went dark.

Such a scenario may never play out, though Google did suffer an outage over the weekend, one that lasted a full five minutes and saw everything from Google Drive to YouTube fell off the face of the web. Five minutes might not sound like much, but during the brief downtime, Internet traffic around the world plunged a whopping 40 percent, according to web analytics firm GoSquared.

Google Apps Dashboard

"That's huge. As Internet users, our reliance on being up is huge," said GoSquared developer Simon Tabor. "It's also of note that pageviews spiked shortly afterwards, as users managed to get to their destination."

The Google Apps Dashboard indicates that at one point, 50 percent to 70 percent of requests to Google received errors. Service was mostly restored a minute a later and entirely back up and running within a few more minutes. The cause of the outage is not yet known.