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What Would Happen if Google Crashed for 24 Hours?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Don’t worry, there’s no indication that the world’s most visited website is about to crash or go offline…

…but, if it did, what would happen? Just how dependent have we become on ONE WEBSITE and its services?

Before we dive into the apocalyptic stuff, let’s examine what happened the last time Google crashed.

In August 2013, Google’s services shut-down for between 2–3 minutes. During this time, there was a 40% drop in worldwide internet traffic.

40%! And that was 5 years ago!

Since then, Google has strengthened their position, adding a whole bunch of add-on services, and we’ve become more dependent on the internet.

INTERNET USERS GROWTH 2005–2017 (Statista)

So, What Would Happen if Google Crashed?

The Search Engine

The first thing to take account of is Google’s most popular product, the search engine.

‘Google it’ has become a stand-alone term, just like ‘hoover’, and there’s good reason for it, they own an enormous 90.14% of the search market, worldwide.

If Google’s search engines were to read ‘404 ERROR’, the first thing most of us would do is check our internet connection. Many might even give up altogether and disappear from the web.

Those of us who don’t have a second-choice search engine (I’m guessing that’s a lot), would instinctively want to make a Google search for ‘other search engines’, only to realise that Google is down (again).

The rest of the world would probably find themselves on Bing (after all their campaigning to improve usage of their search tool) and then their servers would crash too, under the enormous waves of traffic that Google deal with every day.

The most searched for ‘how to’ question (worldwide), ‘how to tie a tie’ would leave men everywhere half-strangling themselves, and unfortunate groomsman typing double knots around their neck.

Businesses and Marketers

The short-term death of Google would see businesses suffer untold losses.

Much of their traffic would disappear, but they probably wouldn’t realise anyway because Google Analytics would be failing too.

Without their beloved numbers, marketing analysts would fall into a deep state of depression. Many would resort to endlessly punching random keys on their desk calculator or weeping into their ‘charts are awesome’ coffee cups.

Sales would plummet to an all-time digital low. The world’s biggest tech companies stock would collapse with such low traffic. But stocks in Chinese companies would soar because Baidu would still be up and running, and their companies don’t rely on one website as much as the western world.

Alphabet (Google’s parent company) would rue a day of lost advertising revenue. In Q1 of 2018, they posted a revenue of $31 Billion, meaning a day without trading would cost them $316,326,530.


Advertisers would suffer too. They’d rush over to Bing to discover how to run ads on their platform, only for the surge in traffic to make it crash (again).


According to Statista, 26% of the world use Gmail as their email service provider.

¼ of the world’s emails would disappear, creating one day of catastrophic email silence. People would rush back to their old Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, that are primarily used to sign-up for spammy looking deals, and have to wade through 356,922 unopened emails…

…and when they’ve cleared them, they wouldn’t be able to email anyone except their old schoolmates anyway, because all their real contacts are in their Gmail accounts.

Some of us might even have to pick up the phone, but the 44.75% of UK people (Statista) using Android might not even be able to get into their contacts, because they’re a Google-run company too.

Many of these people would resort to dialing their ex’s number because it’s the only one they can remember off by heart.


If Google went down, YouTube probably would too.

This means when we’re bored waiting for Google to come back online, we couldn’t even watch the hilarious ‘cat chases own tail’ video that was trending.

YouTube ‘celebs’ would systematically hand themselves into asylums because a whole day would go by without them receiving attention.

Time-wasters everywhere would actually have to get on with their work or find a different rabbit-hole to fall down.


No Google maps? We’d all have to stop off at petrol stations and decide which pretty coloured line to follow.

‘Surely, I must follow the green line?’ People would tell themselves, ‘That’s how Google Maps works, and it’s always got me to the correct destination’.

Cars would crash because drivers have wedged A3-sized maps into the phone-holder on their windscreen. The rest of us would all follow the green line to the exact same location, creating carnage at Joyden’s Wood Service Station.

Some of us might try to be clever by using Apple maps instead. These people would all end up in the black-forest, Germany, and create a cult, believing that this defunct technology has led them directly to the promised land.

Social Media

Social media active users (April 2018, Statista)

Google+ would crash…

…and nobody would notice.

Many of us would rush to our desired social networks, reacting in the following ways:


  • ‘OMG!’
  • ‘The World is ending!!!’
  • ‘Apple mac computer for sale, works fine but won’t load Google- £6.99.


  • ‘#googledown #killmenow #bingiscrap’
  • ‘This is all because of BREXIT #outofeuropeoutofgoogle’
  • ‘DuckDuckGo is better anyway! #abouttime’


  • ‘Here’s a selfie of me with Google, can’t believe he’s gone. RIP’
  • ‘Black and White, high-resolution shot of dead search engine, fish-eye lens.’
  • ‘Don’t use Chinese search engines, you might find the product I’m trying to sell at a much lower price’


  • ‘How do you think businesses will cope without Google?’
  • ‘How do you think businesses will cope without Google?’
  • ‘How do you think businesses will cope without Google?’


Content Marketers

The time away from Google causes the laziest content marketers to run out of ideas, after all, if they can’t search for a topic, how are they supposed to rip off somebody else’s ideas?

All the other content creators start creating posts about life without Google. We can’t move for blogs entitled:

  • -10 Reasons the Google Crash is Good
  • -5 Ways to Hack Yourself to Success During the Google Collapse
  • -I Survived the Google Crash, Here’s My Story
  • -38 Companies that are Thriving in the Google Shut-Down
  • -Digital Marketing Super-Ninja’s Share Their Best Google Crash Hacks


The point of this blog was not to poke fun at anyone but to demonstrate how much power one tech company has over our lives.

Their products are amazing, and (most of them) FREE, which has caused many of us to completely rely on their services.

Let us pray that this never happens, because who knows what would actually happen (hopefully not people driving around with Map’s glued to their windscreen).

What do you think would happen if Google crashed? Is there anything major that I’ve missed? Let me know what you think, and together we can ready the world!

Fancy some more fun? Check out our 8 Viral Video Ads!

Originally published at on July 9, 2018.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 343,876+ people.

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Josh Barney

Josh Barney

Founder of We Imagine Media, creator and marketer. 😎