April 2019 Google Outages Due to Human Error


I used to be just lately approached by somebody exterior of Google with info from Google in regards to the April 2019 index outages. The Googler shared this info on the May 2019 Sydney Search Conference.

A second particular person, completely unknown and unrelated to the primary particular person, associated the same account. The story they shared reveals what brought on Google’s Search Index outages in April 2019.

How Google Shared the Information

The first particular person associated {that a} Googler shared the data just lately at a Sydney Search Conference.

“We were in a “closed door” session with a bunch of different SEOs…”

He then associated what he remembered the Googler mentioned:

“…he… wrote down three things.

1. Developer mistakenly deletes the entire Google web index on all servers.

2. Google Rendering Team rolls out an update just before Google I/O to adjust font sizes (which many people saw) and accidentally introduces a bug that redirects millions of pages to Facebook.

3. Not able to fix second problem because of lockdown after the first. “

I want to stop right here and note that the first two points listed above are how the first person remembered it. What was actually said may have been different. A second person offered a clearer explanation of what was said.

The first person related more of what was shared:

“The Googler later added that a developer in Zurich deleted the Google index (not the live on, but one waiting in the wings) from all 18 distributed Google servers, so they locked everything down while they were trying to figure out what happened.

When the second issue happened, they were able to figure it out soon enough, but couldn’t fix it right away.”

I requested this particular person if he thought Google’s indexing points in May 2019 have been from the same human error:

“So, it was really interesting to see Google have another very similar looking issue this week… no idea if it was for the same reasons.”

Account Confirmed by a Second Person

Hearing one thing like this from one particular person, irrespective of how credible they’re, it’s nonetheless only one particular person. But I heard this from two unrelated individuals. This lends credibility to the story {that a} Googler shared what actually occurred.

This second particular person has no connection to the primary particular person. Neither of those individuals know one another.

More Details About Human Error at Google

The second particular person disagreed that the Googler mentioned all the index was deleted.

Point 1 – The Index Was Not Deleted

The second particular person had a special recollection of what was mentioned in regards to the server being deleted.

“The entire index is an overstatement. It would be misleading to say that. If that had been the case the SERPs would have fallen apart in some way. And we all would have noticed.

The details are all about the caching time on one shard the engineer wanted to update before pushing to live – 2 seconds if memory serves – that would have been fine for one shard, but it propagated to the entire set, and the system pushing fresh data into the index shards could not keep up (that alone is very interesting from mechanisms within google perspective 🙂

So to avoid that empty set of shards being pushed to the live index, they froze the existing live index in place while they investigated. That means the live index did not change for several days.”

Point Two – Google Did Not Redirect URLs to Facebook

The second particular person had a special recollection of what was mentioned about Facebook the Facebook URL situation.

“They didn’t redirect people to Facebook. The URL showed Facebook but the link sent users to the correct page. It was 200 million green links that showed Facebook, but continued to have their Href tag correctly assigned.”

The variations between the 2 accounts differ, however the basic outlines match.

Point Three – Google’s Index Was Locked Down

The second particular person agrees with what the primary particular person associated about level three, about not having the ability to repair a second outage due to the lockdown of the index.

“Third point = yes indeed. The index is frozen and they don’t want to mess with it.”

Are the May 2019 Index Outages Similar to the April 2019 Outages?

The second particular person provided this opinion:

“My feeling here is that what is important to get across is that April was a “special month” that may by no means be repeated and that May might be struggling knock on results.

An situation that dimension and that shut to the bone, with a freeze in place is at all times going to create shockwaves / knock on results.”

That’s his opinion in regards to the May 2019 Google Index Outages, and it was shared as that, an opinion.

Whatever the case, that is the primary info to come out of Google that identifies what’s going on. It seems that the explanation Google’s been struggling outages to it’s index might in actual fact be human error.

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author



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