#googlefail sweeps Twitter

By Paul Jay, CBC News.ca. It's fair to say that many websites experience slowness or some disruption as a result of computer or human error, and that on any given day some site or another is down. This is not news. Of course, not every website is as relied-on as Google.

At about 10:48 a.m. ET, some users started to experience problems using not only Google's search tool, but also other services such as GMail and Google Trends.

Google restored service after about an hour, and blamed the problem on an error in one of their systems that "caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam."

"As a result, about 14% of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions," wrote senior vice-president of operations Urs Hoelzle in a blog post at 3:15 p.m.

Google has had server glitches before, but made this particular one relevant was the accompanying media storm. And by media, we mean Twitter, where the #googlefail tag quickly rose up the search charts of the online message broadcasting service.

The Twitter-fueled coverage reveals both the strength and weakness of Twitter. By quickly tapping into the messages of all of the Tweeters out there, Google's glitch was quickly identified as not just a problem with someone's computer, but rather a global event.

On the other hand, it is perhaps fair to say that, Google's supremacy notwithstanding, the intermittent service of a search engine is not exactly in the same news ballpark as "Bin Laden captured" or "Leafs win Cup." So perhaps, as some have suggested, the Twitterati may have overreacted a tad.

The weirdness in all of this? As I tried to link to Twitter for this blog post at 4:04 p.m., Twitter was down.