Tuesday, May 10, 2005

15 mins of chaos

Around 6 pm on the 7th day of May, in the year of 2005, for about 15 mins - there was no Google..!!! I repeat - NO GOOGLE..!!! Its like our whole world came tumbling down.

Following Google's outage, there has been much discussion about what happened. Well Google's press release stated that it was a DNS failure. For a short period of time Google's global record was missing - probably, change of software or something as negligible as that. People questioned, that if the Google DNS record was missing, why were they being directed to another search website called "SOGO"..? Let me assure you that it wasn't a hack.

See here is what happens. When we enter a URL in our browsers, it tries to resolve its IP address by doing a DNS lookup. Now, courtesy of the smart logic in modern browsers, we can simply put in the name of the site without the ".com" or "www." and still get to the desired page. How this works is simple, if the DNS lookup fails for say the word "google", then the browser automatically appends it with ".com" and looks up. Then with ".net" and so on and so forth - till we have a resolved result.

So now lets consider our own case, the DNS resolution of "google.com" failed. So the browser appended it with a ".net" and resolved for "google.com.net". See where that goes - "google.com.net". That page look familiar...? Yup, it is the same SOGO website which was displayed when Google was down. So that should explain exactly what happened.

What I personally observed from this episode, is the how Google has become an integral part of our lives. I have seen how we Net-surfers has become accustomed to the use of search. Even at times, when we know the URL of the site we want to go to - we go through Google - just to make sure we have the correct name :) The amount of discussion that followed on the Internet concerning this 15-minute downtime is also a measure of Google's integration into our daily chores.

UPDATE : The redirect link to SoGoSearch does not work anymore.


Post a Comment

<< Home