Twitter exploded this afternoon with cries of terror: Google was down. For about 10 minutes the internet (except for those who followed Google's advice and switched to Bing) screamed that their beloved search engine was dead. Was it delusional users? A perfect storm of browser errors? Or did Google really go down? We may never know, since there hasn't been any sign of a statement so far, other than promising a while back that Google Apps would be free from downtime (unless you count constantly recurring periods of 9 minutes, which Google doesn't).
RYP's Adam Thompson, however, decided to do a little number crunching and figure out how much money Google would lose if it went down universally for 10 minutes. Even though Thompson admits that the numbers are just 'ballpark estimates,' relying on two obviously incorrect assumptions, they're still pretty interesting.
Basically, Thompson says that if Google's revenue were to be divided equally through the year, regardless of time or date, and if the people who couldn't access Google didn't return later, then we would be able to determine how much money they would have lost in those 10 minutes of downtime.
In 2011, Google raked in just shy of $38 billion. Divide that by the 525,600 minutes in a year and you'll see that Google would make $72,380.95 per minute. If that's not a humbling sum, we don't know what is. Multiply that by 10, and Google would have lost... $725,000 in 10 minutes. Again, humbling, unless you're a very special person.
Is it wrong? Probably – no, definitely. But as Thompson said, it's in the ballpark.