Friday, 15 May 2009

Google suffers major failure

This entry reference from "By Sharon Gaudin May 14, 2009 01:12 PM ET's Blog" as link below.
Let see the latest Google Fail case, then reference from the former cases that I collected here...

Various Google Apps start kicking back in after widespread outage this morning

The Internet was abuzz with reports of widespread trouble with Google Inc.'s Google Apps service this morning.

Google Search and Google News performance slowed to a crawl, while an outage seemed to spread from Gmail to Google Maps and Google Reader. Comments about the failure were flying on Twitter, and "googlefail" quickly became one of the most-searched terms on the popular microblogging site.

By around noon Eastern time, the outages had started clearing up.

"We're aware some users are having trouble accessing some Google services," said a Google spokesman in an e-mail to Computerworld. "We're looking into it, and we'll update everyone soon."

When the outage began, many users turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations and to look for information.

"Google isn't down, it's engaging in mortal combat with Wolfram Alpha," wrote one Twitterer this morning, referring to a highly anticipated new search engine. Another said, "So Google goes down and the Internet almost stops and Google becomes most talked about thing on the net today. Yahoo anyone???"

Twitter users also were quick to begin reporting that the trouble was clearing up. "Google is back and I've stopped twitching," said one Tweet.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research, said this kind of outage is going to be tough on Google.

"As far as I can tell, all of Google, or at least the big pieces, went down," he said. "This is bad news for Google's efforts to build up Apps, and to a lesser extent, Gmail, as critical business tools. It also undermines the entire category of hosted applications. If the mighty Google can stumble, then who can be trusted?"

In February, Google's Gmail had a highly publicized two-and-a-half-hour outage.

That February outage came just a week after Google acknowledged that some users had experienced problems getting results from Google News searches over a span of more than 14 hours. Some users reported that they weren't getting any results when searching for keywords, such as Microsoft and even Google, in Google News. Other users reported that entire news sections, such as Science/Technology, were coming up empty of stories.

And last December, Google confirmed that there was a technical problem with Google Talk and the Web-based Gmail chat system. One day early in the month, messages created by a "subset" of users were left unsent because of glitches in the messaging system, according to Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs.

The scope of today's outage isn't immediately clear but it appears to be international.


Computer World

See Other Google Fail

  1. After Googlefail, will you trust online apps? - Computerworld Blogs

    Google fouled up its own network, so would you trust them, or anyone else, with your applications. - 1 hour ago

    Labeled Blogs
  2. Google suffers major failure

    14 May 2009 ... Comments about the failure were flying on Twitter, with "googlefail" quickly became one of the most searched terms on the popular micro-blogging site. ... - 7 hours ago

    Labeled Articles
  3. Google - Computerworld Blogs

    After Googlefail, will you trust online apps? By Steven J. Vaugh... Google fouled up its own network, so would you trust them, or anyone else, ...

    Labeled Blogs
  4. Google blames outage on system error and online traffic jam

    14 May 2009 ... Comments about the failure were flying on Twitter, with "googlefail" quickly becoming one of the most searched terms on Twitter. ... - 4 hours ago

    Labeled Articles
  5. blogs - Computerworld Blogs

    After Googlefail, will you trust online apps? Steven J. Vaugh...'s Blog. Google fouled up its own network, so would you trust them, ...

    Labeled Blogs

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  • Google Outage Caused by Asian “Traffic Jam”

    Google Outage Caused by Asian “Traffic Jam”If the Web has a single point of failure, you’d think it was Google, given the outcry over the the outages suffered by some of the company’s services Thursday ...

  • Google Adds Barcode Scanning to Product Search

    Google Product Search for Mobile now has barcode scanning ability. The obvious convenience factor is that, rather than typing in the name of the product you're looking at ...

  • Google Services Go Down For Many

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Friday, 8 May 2009

'Human error' hits Google search

Google screen grab
Users were warned that all search results were dangerous

Google's search service has been hit by technical problems, with users unable to access search results.

For a period on Saturday, all search results were flagged as potentially harmful, with users warned that the site "may harm your computer".

Users who clicked on their preferred search result were advised to pick another one.

Google attributed the fault to human error and said most users were affected for about 40 minutes.

"What happened? Very simply, human error," wrote Marissa Mayer, vice president, search products and user experience, on the Official Google Blog.

The internet search engine works with to ascertain which sites install malicious software on people's computers and merit a warning. investigates consumer complaints to decide which sites are dangerous.

The list of malevolent sites is regularly updated and handed to Google.

When Google updated the list on Saturday, it mistakenly flagged all sites as potentially dangerous.

"We will carefully investigate this incident and put more robust file checks in place to prevent it from happening again," Ms Mayer wrote.

About Google's search service

Google Custom Search and Custom Search Business Edition

Google uses the index they've created for the web search engine, and limits by domain name, host, and/or URLs. When someone enters a query in the search form on your site, the Google server application receives the query, formats the results, and sends them back in either HTML or XML (for the business version) with links directly to the pages on your site.


  • Finding Content
    • Can include multiple sites (unlimited pages in the non-business version)
    • Only those pages within the Google search index are available, no promises about additional indexing.
    • No access to pages secured by passwords or other access control.
    • Updates to new versions of pages when the Google search index updates (no daily or weekly updating).
    • Powerful robot crawler can handle most kinds of links
  • Indexing
    • Handles file formats: HTML, XML, text, PostScript, RTF, PDF, Lotus, MacWrite, MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
    • Excellent character set and language recognition for best tokenization
    • Does not store the contents of meta tags or page properties.
  • Querying
    • Defaults matching all words in the query, case-insensitively
    • Uses the Google query language, including Internet Query Operators - (minus) and "" (quotes) , along with OR and various field names and other parameters.
    • Optional Safe Search for eight languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Traditional Chinese)
    • Light pluralization using an internal wordlist rather than stemming
  • Retrieval
    • Retrieves all matching pages (though the CSE doesn't say how many that is)
    • Shows spellchecker "did you mean?" for misspelled and mistyped words, but they may not have any match on a particular site or set of sites, so it can be a dead end.
    • Search results can have "Refinements", zones based on URLs which appear as links along the top of the results
    • Search Suggestions appear using the "subscriptions" mechanism, which is quite poorly documented
  • Relevance
    • Relevance ranking uses all the Google algorithms, including PageRank
    • Adjusting relevance weight can only be done via an XML "background label" and "boost" process
  • Results UI
    • Default looks like the Google web search results.
    • Can display interface in English, French, Spanish, German, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Swedish.
    • Hides duplicate pages based on snippet similarity
    • Page size and cache link seem to appear or not appear randomly
    • Basic results page customization: logo, text and link colors
    • Option to use JavaScript and show results in an iframe (not well documented)
    • Option to request XML results and use a scripting language or presentation program to show them.
  • Search Analytics and reports
    • Shows traffic by hour, day, week, month or "overall" (since installing the search service)
    • Shows most popular queries in the same time periods, with links to the queries and flags on no match (zero results) with details.
    • Note: report periods for low-traffic search installations may end the previous Saturday, even for daily and weekly reports.
  • Administration
    • All admin done via web
    • Option to allow "contributors" who can edit the URLs to be included or excluded, and annotate them with any refinement labels that you have created, but not otherwise change the search engine.

  • Business Edition (CSBE) features
    • No advertising
    • Google logo ("branding") not required
    • XML results option - allowing flexible display customization
    • Technical support by email, and for larger customers, an option for paid telephone support

Articles & Reviews

Reference :



Monday, 4 May 2009

How satellites could 'sail' home

Aerobraking prototype (EADS Astrium)

By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News

Satellites and spent rocket stages could soon deploy "sails" to guide them back to Earth much faster than they would otherwise fall out of the sky.

With space becoming ever more crowded, there is a need to remove redundant objects that could pose a collision threat to operational missions.

Extending a sail on an old spacecraft would increase drag and pull it into the Earth's atmosphere to burn up.

Major European space firm EADS Astrium says the scheme has great potential.

"It is an interesting solution, especially for the satellite that has no propulsion system at the end of its life," Brice Santerre told BBC News.

Santerre and colleague Max Cerf have been working on what they call the Innovative DEorbiting Aerobrake System (IDEAS).

The concept involves extending booms and sheeting from spacecraft to increase the amount of drag they experience from the residual air molecules still present at altitudes up to even 750km (470 miles)

"The principle of aerobraking is to increase the surface over mass ratio of an orbital object, to accelerate the fall-out by increasing the drag on the system," Mr Santerre said.

"To do that, we need to deploy a very light structure. That's why we chose to use 'gossamer structures'. These are composed of booms and very thin membranes."

Microscope (CNES)
Microscope will investigate the behaviour of free-falling objects

Santerre and Serf have been developing an aerobraking sail concept for the forthcoming French Microscope satellite.

Microscope is a science mission that will investigate the force of gravity and the behaviour of free-falling objects in a test of what has become known as the equivalence principle.

The satellite will take about a year to make its measurements and will then have no further purpose.

Ideally, such a spacecraft would be removed from orbit, especially since it will be circling at an altitude where many important Earth observation satellites also operate.

"Microscope has no propulsion system so it cannot de-orbit by itself. If we were to do nothing, the fall-out duration would be between 50 and 100 years," said Mr Santerre.

By erecting their boom and membrane mechanism, Santerre and Serf believe Microscope could be brought out of the sky in less than 25 years, which meets international orbital junk mitigation guidelines.

Astrium is now investigating how the IDEAS concept could be applied to spent rocket stages.

The company leads the production of Europe's premier launcher, the Ariane 5.

Microscope system (EADS Astrium)
The concept developed for Microscope would bring it back inside 25 years

Much of the Ariane's structure - its main core stage and solid boosters - fall rapidly out of the sky at the end of a flight; but the upper-stage is much longer lived in orbit.

Once it has ejected its satellite payload, the stage continues to circle the Earth in a large ellipse, running out to more than 35,000km from the Earth and coming as close as about 250km.

It may take 100 years before an upper-stage falls naturally from the sky.

"Our study shows that if we want to apply the aerobraking concept to an Ariane-class upper-stage then we need a system with booms, or masts, of about 12m and a deployed surface of about 250 sq m.

"This is possible with our current technologies. We need now to check that this is the best solution. We are also thinking whether this type of system can be applied to other launchers as well."

One alternative, of course, is to give the Ariane 5 upper-stage the capability to take a powered dive into the Earth's atmosphere.

Ariane 5 upper stage (EADS Astrium)
The Ariane 5 upper-stage continues to circle the Earth for decades

This was done for the first time last year at the end of the launch of the Jules Verne space station freighter. This was considered essential because of the number of manned missions that routinely follow station's orbit.

Once Jules Verne was released from the rocket, the upper-stage reignited its engine to make a controlled burn-up over the Pacific.

The advantages of de-orbiting in this way are clear, but the extra fuel requirements and complexity of re-ignitable engines adds cost to what is already a very expensive endeavour.

Aerobraking sails, on the other hand, are lightweight and extremely simple. Their operation could even be controlled by a pre-set timer, fixed to deploy a certain number of minutes after the end of a flight.

This means that even an upper-stage that is out of control can still be guaranteed to return to Earth in a timely fashion.

Santerre and Serf presented their latest research at the recent European Conference on Space Debris in Darmstadt, Germany.

The meeting closed with a statement from its organisers saying that effective measures to clean up space debris needed to be devised and implemented.

Artist's impression of ATV separation (CNES)
The upper-stage that launched Jules Verne took itself into a controlled dive