News Column

Social Media Sites Twitter, G-Talk Experience Crashes Worldwide

July 26, 2012

Two of the world's most popular social media sites -- Google's G-Talk and Twitter -- experienced crashes Thursday that took down service around the world.

The companies haven't offered explanation for the crashes but TheBlaze.com questioned whether the crash of G-Chat sent users scrambling to Twitter as an alternative, triggering an overload and crash there.

"We're aware of a problem with Google Talk affecting a majority of users. The affected users are able to access Google Talk, but are seeing error messages and/or other unexpected behavior," Google confirmed in a statement on Tech2.

Some service was restored early this afternoon but the crashes cause disappointment, inconvenience and even some concern among people who rely heavily on Twitter and Google's G-talk to communicate with family, friends and work colleagues.

G-Chat began experiencing problems during the morning commuting hours on the East Coast, prompting Google to issue an "update" at 8:50 a.m. that said it was investigating the issue. By 10:50 a.m., Google said service had been restored to some users and expected to have full service for all users "in the near future." At 11:25 a.m., Google announced that Google Talk and G-Chat service should be restored for all users: "The problem with Google Talk should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better. If you are still experiencing an issue, please contact us via the Google Help Center." Yet the loss of a social media communication method for the nation's many social media addicts may have contributed to an overload of users switching to Twitter after 11 a.m.

For Twitter, which allows users to chat in 140 characters or less and send pictures, the outage appears to be its second major crash of the summer. A widespread outage on June 21 went on for several hours, off and on, until full service could be restored.

People who logged into the site reported they couldn't send or receive tweets for more than a half hour. Those trying to log into the site got error messages, including one received at the Trib in response to a login attempt that simply stated "Twitter/overcapacity." The extent of the outage was uncertain. Twitter, as it has in the past, posted a short message acknowledging a problem without giving details: "Users may be experience issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue." Besides TribLive.com, several websites quickly picked up on the outages. Wafflesatnoon.com noted in its brief report that the Twitter site was "not even showing the infamous Whale image." Computer technology websites say technology, scandals and major news developments such as the start of the Olympics on Friday and the Colorado theater shooting that killed 12 and wounded 58 are among reasons that overload sites such as Twitter.

Though the news initially broke a few days ago, one of the hottest trending items on Google before G-Chat crashed was word that someone may have hacked the cell phone of popular Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe" www.youtube.com/watch?vfWNaR-rxAic) and posed nude photos on the Internet. Jepsen has denied there are nude photos of her, but Vancouver police were said to be investigating a hacking report.

Google trend reported more than 100,000 users were searching for Jepsen photos. Some online sites capitalized on this by posting prank information that leads voyeurs to their sites -- likely to get hits. A poster to basilmarket.com put this subject field message up: "Hey I don't know you, And this is crazy, but I've nicked your photos, I've hacked you baby." Voyeurs who click the Google link to the site get this message: "Srry guys, I don't have the real deal here, but you can find them yourself if you want."



Source: (c)2012 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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