back to article Google evaporates Docs and Spreadsheets cloud

Google's Docs and Spreadsheets disappeared today for close to an hour, proving that the world's largest search engine is a long way from perfecting the art of online business applications. Many businesses paid good money to look at this screen, which appeared - at least to people in Silicon Valley - from about 9am to 10am: …


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  1. Ian Ferguson

    That explains it

    and there was me thinking our sysadmins must have blocked me from running my ongoing book on 'Who's sleeping with who in the office'.

    A good point though; if my documents had been a little more business critical, I wouldn't have had even an old backup to access. It's all very well backing up every thirty seconds to an ultra-secure remote server in Alaska, but if the backup IS the source document, what do you do when the connection goes down?

    I'd like to see an automatic local backup built into Google Docs. Just like the automatic remote backup I've always wanted built into Word (and no, Sharepoint doesn't count).

  2. PaulH

    @Ian Ferguson

    Would Google Gears have helped with this? (I don't know as I've not installed it, but it sounds like it would be useful in this situation).

  3. James Wade

    It was more than just docs and spreadsheets...

    I was also seeing this error when visiting...*

    Seems okay now, but I suspect google has dramatically changed something.

  4. eurobloke

    It just tell me something I already know, ...

    ... that cloud computing isn't the bee's knees that everyone says it is.

  5. Rob


    Yes I'm pretty sure Google Gears would prevent this problem and you would still be able to use it.

  6. chris

    One hour down in a year?

    Ye Gods you are a bunch of prissy boys.

    The NHS suffers this much downtime and more a week,

    give them a break -its better than your own site manages.

    JHC on a bike!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Look for the single point of failure.

    Find out where it failed, then install openoffice.


    as a REAL ISO standard document format. (As in even if they die, you can figure out how to read them. )

    runs locally

    Cross platform, just like cloud. Runs on all windows and linux and a few more I am sure.

    did I mention free?

    Evil Bill, cause I wonder if he shouldn't come back to haunt MS with a "new venture compagny"

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Hardly a bip in my experience

    Given that our service provider (I'm a local government worker in the UK so that gives you a hint who the provider might be) doesn't seem to be able to keep our network up for a day at a time, an isolated case of a few hours down time is hardly an issue.

  9. Chris

    Re: Hardly a bip in my experience


  10. Daniel B.

    Web-based software failure shocker!

    So it seems like some people found out just why Web 2.0 "desktop" apps will never replace the good-old native desktop apps.

    Office, OpenOffice and such will always work even if you're in the middle of nowhere and without an internet connection. Remote storage is nice, but having it as your only storage option is as bad as having local files with no backup.

    Flames, because that's how all your files will go up if you don't back them up!

  11. Kanhef

    This is why

    'cloud computing' is an idiotic idea. You're dependent on the cloud provider having perfect stability and uptime. You're also dependent on your ISP connection being up at all times. If the DNS gets hacked or someone nearby on the network gets hit by a DDOS attack, you're screwed. An offsite repository to share files in a company with multiple offices is useful, but using it for primary storage and processing is ridiculous.

  12. Kendra


    The downtime this morning seems to give critics of cloud computing an easy way to say, 'told you so' - but I agree (with Chris) that most of us who have had to work with internal IT management tools, say a company intranet, know that one hour of downtime over the course of a year is, indeed, hardly a blip on the radar.

    What is of note here is that when folks are upset (and justifiably so) over an hour of downtime, we know that the standards and expectations for online services are right where we want them - very high.

    Going to be interesting to see what the problem was and how Google addresses it.


  13. David Heffernan

    Time to upgrade to a real office suite

    There are a few around

  14. Doug Glass
    Black Helicopters

    Seen It All Before

    When this idea was first promoted the place where you typed was called a "dumb terminal". It had no software of its own; it just made input possible. It didn't take long to find out this approach just didn't work.

    It failed then and it will fail now. The technology is not mature enough and the ability of third party vendors to provide the necessary up-time is not there.

    It kind of reminds me of the plan to have all airplanes controlled from a few control centers world-wide and have no pilots aboard. No thanks, I'll take my plane with a human pilot on board...he has a stake in my safety. I feel the same way about software, Jack Sheit's PC may crash but others likely wont. Having them all crash at once just makes for impromptu in situ vacations and we all know how our bosses just love those.

  15. Jamie

    quit moaning

    Stop your whining I would like to see you lot do a better job. No company is perfect.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Google Groups

    Are still not working. That has been going on a while now. Or is it revenge for using AVG

  17. Anonymous Coward


    If you're moving to Software As A Service, surely you should agree on Service Level Agreements?

    "We know how important Google Docs is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously."

    Prove it -- put your money where your mouth is.

    Suggested KPI:

    99.5% uptime per month during client's standard business hours. Assuming a 7.5 hour working week, that's approximately 1.5 hours per month permitted downtime.

    Penalty charge of 16.67% of service charge refunded for every hour over and above this limit, up to a maximum of 100%. This means that if the service is unavailable due to problems in the service provider's systems for 1 business day in the month, it is free.

    Google should be able to live up to that, and customers will love it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud computing detractors

    Yes, your local copy of an office productivity tool will always be there even if your network or the "cloud" fails, but having documents available from any browser also has its advantages. You just have to recognise where the weaknesses in each approach lie and accept or mitigate them.

  19. Jerome

    @ chris

    The NHS doesn't enjoy that much _uptime_ in a week.

  20. Xpositor

    Still Beta?

    So MuleSource are dependent upon a third-party BETA product, as when I just checked it Docs were still marked up as being Beta.

  21. Steve King

    re 'One Hour Down in a Year'

    Couldn't agree more - our dear IT department can't keep things running without an hour of downtime a week (at least). And no, we are not a public body, we are a PLC running Office 2003 (and Notes - ugh!) on XP.

    For me the only worry with Docs and Spreadsheets is that IT can't resist the temptation to fiddle with (and inevitably break) our internet connection all the time.

    More power to the cloud, and IT people who get held accountable!

  22. John


    a *BETA* service suffers an outage for around 1hr and suddenly the mob is baying for blood..

    Install OpenOffice (or similar) for free rather than depend on remote applications for your livelihood, this time it was a brief outage at google, next time it could be your Broadband goes down or any one of a gazillion possibilities that knock out your access.

    Its beta, and its the only time I've heard it went down (I've been using it from home for a couple of years now), I think Google have done a great job with it so far.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    horses for courses

    backing a domain into google apps for email management is great.

    the rest of apps (incl. the very bad html editor/publisher) is pants.

  24. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Just waiting for it

    A nice reminder that, when you're walking on a cloud, the slightest puff of wind can plunge you back to Earth in a painfully quick manner.

    Those of you who accept that as a risk, fine. I don't. I'm already taking risks with the reliability of 1) the hardware I'm using, 2) Windows and 3) the office software suite I've got.

    I think that's enough risks already without adding a) my ISP's downtime, b) fishing trawlers that cut undersea cables without warning and c) the availability of said "cloud" servers, with their own hardware and OS issues.

  25. Paul

    Reasons why I don't use Google Docs

    One hour of downtime in a year is pretty impressive for any service, so it's a little bit unfair to cite this problem as a good reason not to use cloud applications.

    There are much more compelling reasons not to depend on them:

    1. My desktop applications still work even when I'm without internet access or otherwise unable to access the server. The application provider usually isn't the weakest link in the chain.

    2. If I really need to have portable document editing, I'll just use a big USB key with portable applications installed.

    3. My data is my own. I know where it is, I know how, where and when it's backed up. If I choose to delete a document I know it's gone, within reason anyway. If I really, really want it gone, there are ways to make it so. If I choose not to delete it, I know I'll still have access to it 20 years from now. Whether I can read it is another story, but steering clear of proprietary formats in recent years has made it more likely that I *will* be able to.

    4. When the Orwellian nightmare we call a government these days decides it wants to go trawling through everyone's data "for public safety, because terrorists write documents", mine isn't going to be caught in their nets. I really don't have anything to hide, but that's no reason to make life any easier for Big Brother. Who knows *what* they might decide is verboten in the future...

    5. I'm not some Web-2.0 dreamer with my head in the Cloud, who actually believes that the internet is this great pervasive always-available thing which will solve all the world's problems. The internet sucks, pretty much. It's just better than what we had before. There might come a day where cloud computing is a technically viable option for everyone, but it's not here yet.

    Even if the service had 100% uptime, and reliable internets were available everywhere, #3 and #4 will always be good enough reasons for me not to trust my personal data to the Cloud.

    There's one exception here: I *do* use Gmail, on the basis that whatever email provider I use, I have no control over what happens to my email before I pull it off the server anyway, so I'm under no illusions of privacy or uptime where that's concerned.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    LOL @ a Reg hack running AdBlock Plus - adverts on the site too annoying?

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