Google blackout blamed on network 'traffic jam'

LONDON - Google blamed a network error for an "embarrassing" breakdown in service yesterday as Gmail, search, YouTube, AdSense and Blogger all experienced outages, while Facebook suffered another phishing attack.

Data routing issues caused several Google products to stop functioning yesterday, most notably Google's main search tool, before service was renewed an hour later.

A systems error caused Google to direct web traffic through Asia, which created an internet traffic jam. As a result, about 14% of internet users experienced slow services and interruptions.

Urs Hoelzle, senior vice president for Google operations, said: "Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia. And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too, so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected.

"That's basically what happened to some of our users today for about an hour, starting at 7:48am Pacific time [3:48pm UK time]."

Google apologised for the glitch, calling the incident "embarrassing" and said it would work diligently to avoid future breakdowns.

Web users in the US who woke up to find Google curiously out of order flocked to Twitter, some to figure out why Google was down, others to gloat about the internet giant's rare moment of frailty.

"Googlefail" was quickly the number one most discussed topic on Twitter as the service went down, and remained so well after Google was back up and running.

Elsewhere on the internet, Facebook yesterday was victim to another phishing scam, its latest in a number of security failures since last month.

In the newest scam, Facebook users are sent strange messages from their friends which only include a link, either,, Clicking on the link leads to a fake Facebook login page, prompting the users to enter their emails and passwords, which the hackers then harvest.

The phishing scam is similar to recent bugs which targeted the social networking site within the last month, with names like 'Koobface', 'Mygener', 'Boface' and 'Fbaction'.

In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the phishing attacks are likely coming from the same hacker.

Zuckerberg said: "This is a phishing attack. We're well aware of it and are already blocking links to these new phishing sites from being shared on Facebook.

"We're also cleaning up phony messages and wall posts and resetting the passwords of affected users.

"We think this is related to the campaign of a couple weeks ago."

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