Google ran out of bandwidth? ... Google?

Bloggers and news sites drive the Google-sucked-up-all-its-bandwidth reports.

For a while there a few days ago it sure seemed to some as though the Google Chrome browser development team had proven again that no matter how much bandwidth is made available, someone, somewhere, for some reason, is going to need or want more.

Instead, what really occurred was a both a failure to communicate and yet another lesson in the risks -- I use the term loosely -- that can come with freewheeling corporate blogging.

Here's what was posted to the Google Chrome Releases blog by Program Manager Mark Larsen: "We were not able to issue a Dev channel release this week. Our test team did a great job in qualifying two Stable updates and a Beta update this week, and we just didn't have the bandwidth to push a Dev channel release. We'll get an update out early next week. Stay tuned for some exciting new features we hope to land in the Dev channel."

Which prompted a blogger for another trade publication to write: "It sounds like there isn't going to be a dev channel release of Chrome this week -- simply because they've already updated the stable, and beta channels this week, and simply can't do any more because they ran out of bandwidth. ... You wouldn't think bandwidth at Google would be an issue, but it sounds like it can be."

Which prompted an industry analyst to send me the link to that post and a message noting: "I thought this was pretty funny -- Google running out of bandwidth."

By which time the Google-sucked-up-all-its-bandwidth report had been picked up by a bunch of other bloggers and news sites, both domestic and foreign, all of whom seemed convinced that those Google code jockeys had overstuffed the pipes.

Now one can only imagine the fallout were such a Google bandwidth crisis actually true.

Service providers would be rushing out press releases touting the depletion as proof positive of the need for bandwidth caps. A congressman might smell a headline opportunity. Heck, Wall Street might wonder if the recession had hamstrung Google's entire R&D operation. ... Bailout?

But, alas, the facts again get in the way of a great story:

Google's Larsen updated the blog post last Monday: "[Edit, 11 May 2009: Change 'bandwidth' to 'test capacity'. Sometimes the colloquial jargon we use at work translates imprecisely for a public audience.]"

Ah, test capacity ... colloquial "bandwidth," not real bandwidth. Well, it's still kind of interesting to learn that even at Google -- $129 billion dollar Google -- certain resources remain finite.

What does security software have to do with swine flu?

Right, absolutely nothing. Yet that lack of any connection did not deter Cyber-Ark Software from sending us a press release with this headline: "Cyber-Ark's security helps keep Swine Flu under control."

Uh, how's that? Well, it seems that medical professionals would be incapable of communicating with one another and transferring sensitive patient data electronically without the sense of security offered by this vendor's products.

And we would all have swine flu by now. (I'll bet you were wondering why all the hysteria seems to have died down.)

Of course, vendors are always trying to attach their wares to the news of the day; we're used to that sort of thing around here

But usually there's at least a germ of a connection.

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Paul McNamara

Network World
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