Google search attempts were met with error messages on Monday evening, sending the internet into a collective state of panic during the brief outage.
While it was not clear whether the issue was universal or only affected a subset of users, social media was flooded with reports of people being redirected to a “500” internal server error after attempting to search on Google beginning at around 9:20 p.m. EST. The issue appeared to have been resolved for many by around 10 p.m., although sporadic outage reports continued.
Over 40,000 people reported Google outages to tracking website Downdetector.com on Monday. Most users reported having difficulties with the search function, although issues with other services including Google Maps and the Google-owned YouTube were also reported. Outage reports on Twitter were sometimes delivered with a sense of panic or disbelief that the massively popular search engine was not usable.
“Google is down,” writer Adario Strange tweeted. “Restart the apocalypse.”
“Google you turned your back on me too!?” singer Taryn tweeted alongside a screenshot of a Google 500 error message.
“Google appears to be down, please tune your FM radios to the emergency frequencies and make your way to your shelters in a calm and orderly manner.” tweeted journalist Katie Deighton.
“Google is down,” TV host Emile Ennis Jr. tweeted alongside a crying face emoji. “How am I supposed to watch my shows & simultaneously look up information about the casts & random”
“Bruh I ain’t never seen google down…how we supposed to learn now,” rapper Mayzin tweeted.
“How do you look up internet things when google is broken?” asked radio host Madison Rally.
“Google search is down,” Guardian Australia international news editor Bonnie Malkin tweeted. “How.. how did we find things before?”
Others responded to the outage by expressing their displeasure at being forced to used alternative search engines like Bing, or referring to other search engines that were more popular before Google became synonymous with searching the web.
“Google is down,” tweeted musical act Party Pupils. “About to Ask Jeeves something for the first time in 20 years.”
“Is Google really down?” sports anchor Justin Walters asked. “Does Ask Jeeves still exist?”
“Google being down is the moment bing has been waiting its whole life for,” tweeted sportswriter Goldie McGoldrick.
“Thank heavens it’s back, we almost had to use Bing,” activist and lawyer Paul Kidd tweeted after the outage ended.
Google is typically one of the most stable sites on the internet, with only a handful of relatively brief outages reported over the last several years. However, when outages do occur, the impact can be significant due to the extent typical internet users rely on the company’s services.
An outage that rendered all of Google’s services inactive for only two to three minutes in 2013 resulted in a staggering 40 percent dip in online activity during that period, according to Slate.
Newsweek reached out to Google for comment.