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Website downtime: The one where Google Maps went down

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March saw many of the big tech companies have technical issues with their products and services. But the biggest one was by far the colossal Google; Google Maps experienced the much dreaded website downtime impacting thousands of users across the globe. It was reported online that Google Maps had suffered a partial outage meaning that many couldn’t access the location tool, but why and more importantly, how?

What impact did it have?

Users searching for a place and needing directions, and sites that have an API link with the plugin to display their location and other essential services that rely on Google Maps all faced issues. Think of all the users that were forced to use alternative apps to help them navigate their way and might end up sticking with them as they found they were easier to use or even better.

Like many things that we take for granted, Google Maps has become synonymous with modern day explorers that make full use of the service to find what they are looking for whether it be in cities, countryside and even the wilderness. This type of outage might not be an issue for most people as they can use alternatives like Apple Maps but a lot of businesses rely on this service to direct customers to their premises and the potential financial loss could be significant. 

What was Google’s response?

On the 18th March a Google spokesperson via an email statement confirmed the outage and said “We’re seeing reports of difficulties accessing some Google Maps and Google Maps Platform services. Our team is investigating and working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

Google still has not said what caused the outage, simply that there was a partial outage but have not gone into more detail. However I feel I have to mention that Google worked very quickly on a fix and within a few hours the service was back up and running. Phew.

How did the public react to Google’s downtime?

Many users were stunned that Google Maps was down and had to find an alternative method to help with navigation, something they hadn’t even had to consider doing before. It’s safe to say, however, that the trusty old printed maps did not make a return. In actual fact, the main topic was how little Apple Maps is used. It was clearly highlighted by many users that the reason for this is because it’s a “much poorer user experience especially when compared to Google Maps”. I can’t speak from experience as I’ve always used an Android phone but I guess there must be a lot of iPhone users that use Google Maps on the down low. Shh.

The moral of the story? Even the tech giants like Google can experience downtime. That’s why you need uptime monitoring.

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