Did any events (other than MJ dying) break Google's search page?
October 28, 2013 8:43 AM   Subscribe

When word started spreading that Michael Jackson had died, I remember searching Google for his name and getting back an error page. Apparently so many people searched for him at the same time that Google's computers thought it was a DDoS or similar attack. Here's my question, which has been surprisingly difficult to Google: had this ever happened before, and has it happened since? If so, when and for what event(s)? To be clear, I mean a legitimate worldwide search being improperly seen as an attack (as opposed to Google properly detecting bad guys or Google just plain crashing).
posted by AgentRocket to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I am almost 100% certain that MJ-related queries in 2009 are the only event that has caused that type of outage, before or since.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2013

Michael Jackson's death made the internet slow down (sort of - Google wasn't the only major site to see a HUGE spike in traffic, and as first-like news/gossip sites like Google, Wikipedia and TMZ crashed or slowed significantly, people flocked to other sites, making those sites crash).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2013

10-15 years ago, the term you'd be looking for would be internet storm. Doesn't seem to be in use currently.

The Starr Report was another example (ok, google wasn't around, but boy did the internet suck that day because everyone was downloading/searching/reading about it ..)
posted by k5.user at 12:39 PM on October 28, 2013

When Google started serving search queries for either Netscape searches or Yahoo.com searches long ago (I forget which) the traffic overwhelmed Google's servers so they turned off google.com so they could serve the partner instead. It's in one of the many books on the history of Google.
posted by GuyZero at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2013

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