In what may be an unprecedented outage, all of Google’s services briefly went dark about 4:52 on Friday afternoon Pacific time.
The outage, which reportedly affected most of Google’s services worldwide, led to a staggering 40% drop in global Internet traffic (pageviews), according to analytics firm GoSquared (via Eric Mack of CNET).
The official downtime was between 1 and 5 minutes, according to Google.
One observer estimates that even this brief blip might have cost Google $US500,000 in lost revenue. The impact on the rest of the digital economy was likely far greater.
In case you needed a reminder how powerful Google has become–and how much of the digital economy depends on it–this would be it.
Although this level of dominance is alarming, other companies offer most if not all of the services Google provides. If the company ever had a prolonged outage, Internet activity would likely recover quickly as companies and users switched to other services.
That said, the fact that one company touches this much of such a massive and important an industry is unsettling. Single points of failure and control concentrate power in the hands of a few. And they weaken the integrity of the entire system.
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