Google: Is Technical Erosion Taking Place?

October 17, 2018

Two interesting reports caught my attention.

The first concerns the access problems experienced on October 16, 2018, with YouTube and YouTube Music. The details appear in “Back online. It’s Not Just You, YouTube and Other Google Services Are Down.” The write up states:

According to downtime tracker DownDetector, most people who are seeing the YouTube outage are in eastern and western United States and the UK. The site is seeing a very notable spike in reports of the web’s most popular video hosting site being down. Readers as far spread as Canada, India, Australia and Brazil are also reporting being affected.

Google’s infrastructure is large, complex, and subject to anomalies. Google was on top of the problem. The write up reports that Google dispatched “a team of highly trained monkeys” to rectify the glitch. Understandable, but YouTube is an ad revenue machine. The outage may have had an impact on Google Play, the pay-to-use-it service which will be available in the European Union soon. A YouTube outage is difficult to ignore even for monkeys. Did a monkey cause the problem or was it an annoying human user or a bad actor?

The second issue is related to Google’s self driving automobiles. “Google Engineer Triggered Self-Driving Car Accident That Went Unreported” asserts:

Google never publicly reported multiple autonomous vehicle crashes.

Let’s assume that the statement is accurate. The notion of a “failure to report” echoes the information in “Alphabet in the Soup for Keeping Quiet about Google Plus Data Leak Bug.” The article says:

Alphabet also failed to make investors aware that the company’s security measures “had failed recently and massively”; that they had been breached “due to employee error, malfeasance, system errors or vulnerabilities”; and that security protections had not shielded personal user data.

Google’s technology is quite good. Maybe there is no deterioration. What seems to be surfacing are examples of management decisions which are situational. I will pass these articles to the Beyond Search team compiling data about high school science club management methods.

Glitches and judgment could become the metaphorical equivalent of peanut butter and jelly, ham and eggs, or pressure and cracking in Inconel tubes.

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2018


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