On Saturday, I happened to fire up a browser (with my default homepage of www.google.com) and got a nasty surprise. Where there was normally the string of colourful letters on a tasteful white background that we have come to know and love as Google, there was instead a "PAGE NOT FOUND" error message. Immediately suspecting my most annoying ISP to be the culprit, I did a quick ping test from a command prompt - and found all to be well. "What's going on," I wondered, as I tested several other websites which all worked properly. Where was Google? Well, it appears that I happened to try to hit the search engine at exactly the point it was down for 15 minutes.

Saturday, www.google.com disappeared for about 15 minutes. Within minutes rumors of a Google hack started making the Internet rounds. Some users reported being redirected to an alternative search service called SoGoSearch. The problem was related to the Domain Name System (DNS), which maps web names to the numerical Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used by computers. Engineer, Paul Mutton says the nature of the outage suggests that local DNS servers (operated by Google) were unable to resolve the name www.google.com because Google's DNS server was malfunctioning and so instead resorted to trying close matches, such as www.google.com.net, which points to SoGoSearch.

Google have confirmed that this was not an issue due to malicious hacking, or anything of that nature. The explanation offered is merely that "Google's global properties were unavailable for a short period of time." The issue has now apparently been completely resolved.