Google pilots web into global slowdown

Virtual ATC snafu affects one in 7 Google users globally

This is your captain speaking We are currently stacked up behind a few search queries a folder of spam and footage of last night s Pop Idol

Google has admitted that 14 per cent of its users worldwide suffered poor service and interruptions today, due to poor traffic management.

Using an extended air traffic control simile, Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President for Operations admitted on a Google blog that a systems error caused the internet giant to direct some of its traffic through Asia.

"This is your pilot speaking. Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia," said 'Captain' Hoelzle. "And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too, so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected."

Widespread slowdown

The problems affected many of Google's services, including search, Gmail, Reader, Docs, News, Apps and YouTube, for about an hour, starting at about 3pm UK time.

Hoelzle apologised for the outages, saying, "We've been working hard to make our services ultrafast and "always on," so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again."

He insists that "all planes are back on schedule now." If you want to check for yourself, you can alway check the 'arrivals board' at the Google Apps Status Dashboard. Although since this has green ticks for all services today apart from Google Mail, it seems to be about as reliable and trustworthy as Terminal 5.