Google? Too unreliable.



  • Okay, we have a website and we need a site-search for it. Because nobody is too thrilled by the idea of making an indexing robot or a search algorithm, we're currently using a Google site search form for it.

    But just now, my boss asked me: "What happens when Google is down?"

    Heavens, what do you answer to that? That Google makes headlines around the world whenever its web search is inaccessible for more than twenty minutes?



  • That its a sign that the rapture has begun and you've been left behind?



  • You reply:
    Well our website will probably be down more often than Google.



  • @Arancaytar said:

    But just now, my boss asked me: "What happens when Google is down?"

    Well, to some extent it's a valid question - the question is not "when will all of Google's servers fail simultaneously?" but rather "when will Google decide that they don't want to provide the same service any more?"

    Right now they may be the darling of Wall Street, but these things never last forever, and the US corporate system is set up to maximise the evil of any given corporation, over sufficient periods of time.

    Of course, this isn't exactly a business-critical issue, so you can just file it under "Who cares if the site search breaks?", but you should be careful to avoid assuming that a publicly-owned company will continue to provide you with a given useful service for free if it actually matters.
     



  • Or you could just ask your boss how much money your company spent on redundant / resilient technology and compare that with the billions Google spent, and ask him which set of systems have the better odds of being available.

    Ask him for a few million to make your system more reliable and you can then eliminate the dependency on Google.

     



  • Sounds like he's looking for http://fast.no/

    They gave up on the net at large and focused on searches for a site. I think.  Looking at their front page it seems they've expanded their business a bit, but searches for a site is, or at least was, their specialty.

    And I'm not affiliated with them outside living in the same country.



  • To hell with Google, convince your boss to use people-powered Chacha!



  • @asuffield said:

    Well, to some extent it's a valid question - the question is not "when will all of Google's servers fail simultaneously?" but rather "when will Google decide that they don't want to provide the same service any more?"

    Right now they may be the darling of Wall Street, but these things never last forever, and the US corporate system is set up to maximise the evil of any given corporation, over sufficient periods of time.

    Of course, this isn't exactly a business-critical issue, so you can just file it under "Who cares if the site search breaks?", but you should be careful to avoid assuming that a publicly-owned company will continue to provide you with a given useful service for free if it actually matters.

    Good point, and the answer to that would be Google's enterprise services: http://www.google.com/enterprise/products.html

    They provide the web search as a service (i.e. with a contractual agreement) and even sell hardware to host a search engine locally. 



  • @asuffield said:

    the question is not "when will all of Google's servers fail simultaneously?" but rather "when will Google decide that they don't want to provide the same service any more?"

    And the answer is "We'll switch to whatever company replaced google".  There's always going to be a dominant player in the search market.  Right now it's google.  Use them until they're no longer the dominant player, then switch.

     
    If google starts having major service outages, then it's time to replace them.  But there's no reason to abandon them now because they might not be there some day in the future.

    By that logic, you shouldn't use any services or products that aren't made in-house.  What if dell drops out of the PC business, and we can't get support for our hardware?  What if AT&T drops out of the phone business and we can't make calls?  What if the power company shuts down?

     
    Before you know it, you're using on-site generators for power 24/7, and communicating only by carrier pigeon.

     



  • @merreborn said:

    communicating only by carrier pigeon.

     

    What if gravity becomes a pay per use service? 



  • @ctardi said:

    @merreborn said:

    communicating only by carrier pigeon.

    What if gravity becomes a pay per use service? 

    Doesn't that just make the pigeon's job easier?
     



  • Without gravity then I'd just attach the rope to the building and jump off the building in the general direction of the message 🙂 Should be fun.



  • @asuffield said:

    @Arancaytar said:

    But just now, my boss asked me: "What happens when Google is down?"

    You should be careful to avoid assuming that a publicly-owned company will continue to provide you with a given useful service for free if it actually matters.

    I agree with the general statement, but to nitpick here, google is not offering the service without return: People pay good money to get their products into the adwords system. Besides, as of now, google can practically decide who exists on the web and who doesn't. They would be pretty stupid to throw that immense power out of the window by demanding fees for their services. Which is why they won't. By the same logic one could ask why none of the trendy social networking sites demand a fee for registering.

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    @ctardi said:

    What if gravity becomes a pay per use service? 

    Doesn't that just make the pigeon's job easier?

    What if Boeing gets the patent on air? 

     



  • @ctardi said:

    @merreborn said:

    communicating only by carrier pigeon.

     

    What if gravity becomes a pay per use service? 

    then we'd all fly out of our chairs and smash through the roofs of our buildings at roughly 18,000 ft per second (I completely made up that number), so I doubt we'd really care about google being down



  • @PSWorx said:

    @asuffield said:

    @Arancaytar said:

    But just now, my boss asked me: "What happens when Google is down?"

    You should be careful to avoid assuming that a publicly-owned company will continue to provide you with a given useful service for free if it actually matters.

    I agree with the general statement, but to nitpick here, google is not offering the service without return: People pay good money to get their products into the adwords system. Besides, as of now, google can practically decide who exists on the web and who doesn't. They would be pretty stupid to throw that immense power out of the window by demanding fees for their services. Which is why they won't. By the same logic one could ask why none of the trendy social networking sites demand a fee for registering. 

    I would expect Google's eventual decline to take a different turn: they go to semi-popular websites with lots of money and say "nice search results you've got there, be a shame if anything happened to them, would you like to buy some of our products?"

    It will be dressed up in nicer words about paying for "assured placement" and stuff like that, but it'll amount to "pay for listing". A model based on "pay for searching" would indeed not work. It probably won't happen for ten years or so, but it will almost certainly happen eventually, when Google's adwords profits degrade and the new CEO wants to make some quick cash.



  • @merreborn said:

    @asuffield said:

    the question is not "when will all of Google's servers fail simultaneously?" but rather "when will Google decide that they don't want to provide the same service any more?"

    And the answer is "We'll switch to whatever company replaced google".  There's always going to be a dominant player in the search market.  Right now it's google.  Use them until they're no longer the dominant player, then switch.

     
    If google starts having major service outages, then it's time to replace them.  But there's no reason to abandon them now because they might not be there some day in the future.

    You seem to have missed the point. If your business relies on search services for something, then you're dead in the water from when Google goes bad until you can replace them. These problems are never arranged in terms of "should we rely on any outside services?", they take the form "what is our plan for replacing these services in the future?"

    If you get to work one morning, Google is gone, your site is broken so you can't do any business and it'll take two weeks to rewrite the site to use somebody else, then you might as well go home because the chances of the company lasting long enough to send you another paycheck are quite small.

    The correct answer is either of the form "here is how we quickly reconfigure the system to use one of these alternative providers", or "this system is not business-critical so we'll let it slide, and remember not to allow this service to become business-critical without revisiting this question". 



  • They can't. Microsoft already holds the patent for Air™. You know breathing is illegal without a license.



  • actually, you can breathe air, you just can't sell it without a license



  • Stranger things have happened: 

    [url]http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29130[/url]




  • @asuffield said:

    @merreborn said:
    @asuffield said:

    the question is not "when will all of Google's servers fail simultaneously?" but rather "when will Google decide that they don't want to provide the same service any more?"

    And the answer is "We'll switch to whatever company replaced google".  There's always going to be a dominant player in the search market.  Right now it's google.  Use them until they're no longer the dominant player, then switch.

     
    If google starts having major service outages, then it's time to replace them.  But there's no reason to abandon them now because they might not be there some day in the future.

    You seem to have missed the point. If your business relies on search services for something, then you're dead in the water from when Google goes bad until you can replace them. These problems are never arranged in terms of "should we rely on any outside services?", they take the form "what is our plan for replacing these services in the future?"

    If you get to work one morning, Google is gone, your site is broken so you can't do any business and it'll take two weeks to rewrite the site to use somebody else, then you might as well go home because the chances of the company lasting long enough to send you another paycheck are quite small.

    The correct answer is either of the form "here is how we quickly reconfigure the system to use one of these alternative providers", or "this system is not business-critical so we'll let it slide, and remember not to allow this service to become business-critical without revisiting this question". 


    It doesn't take two weeks to switch external search providers.  Using google search on your site requires posting a simple form -- there's an example of one right here on worsethanfailure in the upper right hand corner.  Anyone who's ever touched a form should be able to switch from one search engine to another in under an hour, worst case.

    Also, if your site is designed in such a way that it's unusable without a search function, that's the real problem.  For most sites, having search down for an hour should effect only a minority of users.

    Lastly, there will likely be warning long before google shuts down external searches, whether it comes in the form of obvious business decline over a period of months, or a simple warning to their customers that they're planning on shutting down the service to focus on whatever their newer, more profitable venture is.  Again, Google is no more likely to disappear overnight than AT&T or Microsoft are.
     



  • @merreborn said:

    Again, Google is no more likely to disappear overnight than AT&T or Microsoft are. 

    Or Enron, or Worldcom.

    Oh, wait....

     

    That kind of attitude is why you are not running a successful corporation.
     



  • @asuffield said:

    @merreborn said:

    Again, Google is no more likely to disappear overnight than AT&T or Microsoft are. 

    Or Enron, or Worldcom.

    Oh, wait....
    That kind of attitude is why you are not running a successful corporation.

    Who went down with Enron and Worldcom? The directors. The employees. The shareholders. The accountants.

    But not the consumers, whose business was taken up without a glitch by the competition.

    "I consume therefore I am" 



  • @JvdL said:

    @asuffield said:
    @merreborn said:

    Again, Google is no more likely to disappear overnight than AT&T or Microsoft are. 

    Or Enron, or Worldcom.

    Oh, wait....

    Who went down with Enron and Worldcom? The directors. The employees. The shareholders. The accountants.

    But not the consumers, whose business was taken up without a glitch by the competition.

    I can guarantee that some of their consumers lost service during the transition and were screwed over as a result. 



  • I totally related to Arancaytar when i read the first post because I once had a similar conversation in the first company I worked at. My boss was writing a code that checked some system tables (sysobjects, systables, syscolumns etc) in SQL Server and then based on the results of a query, wrote the XML schemas of some other tables. He asked for my help.

    Me: "You know, there is a class that already does that." [note: DataAdapter, which can get the schema based on a simple select query]

    Boss: "Really? But what if Microsoft changes the framework with a service pack and drops that?"



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]

    I totally related to Arancaytar when i read the first post because I once had a similar conversation in the first company I worked at. My boss was writing a code that checked some system tables (sysobjects, systables, syscolumns etc) in SQL Server and then based on the results of a query, wrote the XML schemas of some other tables. He asked for my help.

    Me: "You know, there is a class that already does that." [note: DataAdapter, which can get the schema based on a simple select query]

    Boss: "Really? But what if Microsoft changes the framework with a service pack and drops that?"

    [/quote]

    You should have replied "Love can build a bridge" 🙂



  • @Devi said:

    [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]

    I totally related to Arancaytar when i read the first post because I once had a similar conversation in the first company I worked at. My boss was writing a code that checked some system tables (sysobjects, systables, syscolumns etc) in SQL Server and then based on the results of a query, wrote the XML schemas of some other tables. He asked for my help.

    Me: "You know, there is a class that already does that." [note: DataAdapter, which can get the schema based on a simple select query]

    Boss: "Really? But what if Microsoft changes the framework with a service pack and drops that?"


    You should have replied "Love can build a bridge" 🙂

    [/quote]

    Awesome! I actually regret not having said something like that back then 😃



  • You know that's an aprils' fool, don't you? Please, please tell me that you do...


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.