What happens when Google’s services go down for 36 minutes?

Posted on December 15, 2020

 

Internet users were flummoxed yesterday when everyday Google services like YouTube, Gmail and Google Docs suffered unexpected downtime of more than half an hour.

While outages are fairly frequent on some other heavily used sites (notably Facebook), for Google to experience such issues is rare. An India-based writer for MoneyControl.com records the downtime as lasting 36 minutes, from 11:55am to 12:31pm GMT, while also suggesting that users experienced problems with Google search, although the BBC reports that search was unaffected.

The 36-minute downtime was not explained or even acknowledged by Google as it was happening, and while it may not sound like much, the sheer number of users of Google services means even a little over half an hour’s disruption has major repercussions. To get a feel for this, here are two examples of what happens – or more accurately, doesn’t happen – when Google services are out of bounds for 36 minutes.

18,000 hours of YouTube videos are not uploaded

Google says 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. That means over those 36 lost minutes, 18,000 hours of video didn’t get added to the video sharing site.

That’s more than two years of video. If you started watching all that non-uploaded footage today, then by the time you had finished, the Queen would have had her Platinum Jubilee and the winner of the 2022 World Cup would just have been crowned. Negotiations on the Brexit deal would probably still be ongoing though!

1.8 billion emails are not sent or received when intended

A little bit of maths and guesswork is applied for this one, but since there are 1.8 billion active Gmail users, and the average office worker sends 40 emails per day, that equates to 72 billion emails a day. Funnily enough, 36 minutes is exactly one fortieth of a day, so it averages as one email per user during the downtime.

As you can see, Google services are used and relied upon at phenomenal rates, so it’s crucial to have a presence on them. For help with your search engine rankings and advice on filming videos for YouTube, speak to Engage Web.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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