All investors should care about
), even those without any positions in the company. The magnitude
of Google's impact on the Internet -- and, very likely, on your
day-to-day business activities -- is immense.
One-quarter of North American online traffic runs through the
services of Google each month, and an astounding 62% of devices
connect to the company's services at least once a day, according to
, an Internet monitoring company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The
analysts who provided these numbers, however, didn't measure the
strength of our personal and business attachment to Google and its
You don't have to be an analyst to realize that our attachment is
fierce: In the US, Google sites recorded
192.6 million unique visitors in June 2013
, leaving behind
) sites with 189 million and
) sites with 175 million.
With over a million servers scattered around the globe and
interconnected within an
incredibly optimized and robust infrastructure
, Google seems to be technically invincible - at least, to some
But the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
The extreme complexity of Google's networks could also backfire,
resulting in prolonged outages. Three events in recent history --
in 2009 that lasted more than two hours, the
hour-long Gmail issue in 2012
, and the recent
40-minute outage in July
-- proved the rule: No human-made machine is indestructible or
So what would happen, and what should you do, if Google ever goes
Its stock would drop, of course, when the scale of the problem
surfaced. And, even more disappointing if you're an everyday user
and not an investor, all of your documents (on Google Drive) and
mail would just disappear, wreaking havoc on the communications of
more than 350 million Gmail users and
5 million companies
that use Google Apps for Business.
Microsoft's Office 365 might be a good alternative, or you still
can use "old-fashioned" offline productivity suites like Microsoft
. And you have
as primary free email alternatives.
With Calendar down, you'll have to rely on services like Microsoft
, or even your own human memory.
In the case of a total outage, Google Search would surely die, too,
though here you could always switch to
or niche services like
. Web users in China, Russia, and a few other nations would be
covered by their respective local Web search services like
If you run a business with an online component, nobody would see
your ads on Google-run networks, which could hit your site's
traffic hard. But since Google Analytics would be down, too, you
probably wouldn't be able to measure the difference at the time.
Lost access to Google Voice calls and Google Hangouts? Try
instead. A goodol ' phone might be a solution here, too.
Entertainment would suffer a great hit if Picasa or YouTube became
nonoperational - how about Yahoo's
You might get lost or stuck in traffic when Google Maps becomes
inaccessible. That's not a huge deal, frankly; you might have
someGmaps cached on your device, or you'll need to turn to Apple
or even those vintage paper maps.
What if your site or blog is hosted at Google Sites or Blogger? Too
bad -- It's dead now, but there are plenty of alternatives like
. Just make sure you have a local copy somewhere.
If you're one of the millions of active
or are hanging out on Google+ with 343 million other users, you'll
probably miss the opportunity to connect with your friends. That
won't be the end of the world, though, with Facebook,
(LNKD), Twitter, or whatever other social media sites have you
Some services are harder to substitute.
Tens of millions users
who rely on Google Public DNS to essentially get access to the
Internet would have to switch to something else - like their
Things would get a bit trickier if you're one of the thousands of
lucky Google Fiber users in Kansas City; you might have to switch
to the otherISPs or use mobile Internet for a while.
No need to go through all the dozens and dozens of
Google products and services
(or hundreds, if you count the smallest ones) - you've got the
picture already, right?
The good news is that the Android-based hardware, Chromebooks,
Chromecasts, Google Glasses, offline versions of Google apps, and
Google Chrome browser will still run, even though their
functionality might suffer heavily (no Google Play, Drive access,
voice searches, etc.).
Now take a deep breath. Exhale.
None of this had happened (yet); Google, with its massive reach and
giant scale, is up and running at the moment.
While a lasting outage of Google and its services is highly
unlikely - givenGoogle 's
expected 99.9% uptime
- it's still better to be safe than sorry, especially if you're
dealing with markets and money.
Do your backups early and do them often, and know how (and where)
to switch to other programs, servers, and software if something
goes wrong. Make sure you have offline copies of critical documents
at hand, and please don't rely too much on one particular cloud,
even if it's operated by an Internet powerhouse like Google.
Just don't put all your eggs in one basket - and that's true for
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