Just last week, tech giant Google suffered an outage for approximately 45 minutes. This caused thousands of users to be unable to login and do work. Some teachers (including those in Conrad) canceled their first period classes and waited for the problem to be fixed. Other teachers made workarounds. The outage had been reported to start at about 6:50am EST, and the automated system that checks for outages and issues had not reported anything unusual for the first 30 minutes of the outage. Google has explained that the outage stemmed from a failure in the way Google checks for a user when they login to their service or third party services that use Google. During these 45 minutes, many were unable to do work and school classes were temporarily canceled to accommodate.
This brings into question how much should we rely on big tech companies to do our work, in the office or in school? Just last month Amazon had suffered an outage as well, which not only affected their website but other third party sites like Adobe, Flickr, and even the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority. It isn’t to say that these companies are incapable of providing a consistent service, but is it really safe or ideal to place all our chips on a few big companies? Once those companies suffer online outages, as all do, it affects a lot of aspects in our life, like being able to do your job or tune into your online class. As classes shift to online only for schools across the country, how do we minimize the effect these small outages have on the learning environment? In any case, this outage was not the worst case scenario at all, but it does bring these questions into the conversation considering the profound effect it had, lasting just under an hour.