On the morning of the 9th of August, users of Google Search were experiencing very strange search results. Some SERPs were completely empty, others had old versions of the SERPs showing and some even displayed pages that were no longer in existence and shouldn’t be on Google’s index. 9to5Google reported on it and cleared up what was actually going on.

What Could Cause Google To Break Down?

There are 2 notable incidents that were at the centre of all of this confusion. One was an electrical fire in one of Google’s data centres in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A comment from a Google spokesperson clarified that they were aware of the electrical issue, working to resolve it and are treating 3 employees who were injured. The health and safety of employees are naturally of the utmost importance to the search engine giant, and there is a thorough investigation into the cause of the situation as well as providing all necessary assistance to the injured employees.

The other was an update to Google software which a Google spokesperson told CNET affected Google Search and Maps briefly and has now been resolved.

According to that statement, the 2 incidents are unrelated.

Some Examples of What People Have Seen:

There were loads of examples of broken SERPs and tweets from users who actually saw some of the issues Google was facing.

Take a look at what this outage actually looked like from the viewpoint of some users:

Why do we care?

We rely on the information provided by Google, so if it’s inaccurate or unavailable it could be a bigger problem than we think – especially for businesses who depend on Google for customers!

The good news is that even though the outage seems to have been pretty widespread and larger than some thought, it’s been resolved and the SERPs are returning to normal. And all 3 people injured in the fire are recovering in hospital. Our thoughts are with them and their family and we wish them a speedy recovery.


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