When websites crash: How big brands avoid disaster

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Friday, August 16, 2013, 6:56 p.m.
"Google is down? Did we reach the edge of the internet?" tweeted writer Vanessa Schneider.

Google crashed for five minutes between approximately 6:52 p.m. and 6:57 p.m. In those five minutes, according to analytics firm GoSquared, Google's outage caused a 40 percent fall in online traffic globally. Did users turn to alternatives Bing or Yahoo? No. Users turned to Twitter to talk about it.

When websites crash: How big brands avoid disaster

In that short five-minute window, the average tweets per minute jumped from around 200 to more than 1,000. 

When websites crash: How big brands avoid disaster

Twitter continues to prove it is the pre-eminent tool to share real-time experiences and disseminate news online. That's why it's crucial for brands that face an unexpected obstacle -- like an outage -- to stay ahead of the story by communicating information as it happens.

Google said it received reports of an issue that affected some of its services and assured users that the issue had been resolved. The company's brief statement advised readers to review the Google Apps Status Dashboard for additional information. There was no explanation given for the outage and Google did not comment further, electing to put this behind the company quickly and move forward. Google did not lose in the realm of public opinion for two reasons: It fixed the problem immediately and this was its first crash since 2009, which affords the company an incredible amount of leeway.