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Google ran out of disk space on Google+

Led to notification spam
Mon Jul 11 2011, 11:55

INTERNET GIANT Google has admitted that it ran out of disk space for part of its Google+ social networking service, resulting in a storm of alert notifications to users.

Vic Gundotra, SVP of social [networking] at Google, revealed the situation on his Google+ profile, where he said, "For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes."

He added that Google did not expect to hit such a high threshold so quickly, but that it should have known better. We can't help but agree, as surely Google would have put a massive infrastructure in place to cope with the load expected from a large number of users joining and using the network.

Indeed, if Facebook has over 750 million members, surely Google, as a direct competitor, would be gearing up to have just as many users in a few years time, if not sooner. It's very hard to imagine that Google wouldn't have the money and manpower to make this work smoothly, so it appears to have been a major oversight to fail to anticipate how much data it would be dealing with in the early days.

This partially explains why Google decided to opt for a field trial instead of opening the service up to everyone all at once. If it had done the latter it would have run out of disk space far more quickly and we would have all been greeted with a flurry of notifications.

When Google first launched Google+ we suggested that it might not be able to cope with the demand, which some people did not accept as possible, considering the size and scope of Google. While this latest hiccup only affected the notification system, it makes us wonder if Google has enough disk space for other parts of the Google+ service.

Gundotra apologised for the notifications spam and thanked the participants of the field trial. He also said that there will be some changes made to the service this week to address some criticisms. Let's hope it's adding more disk space, too. µ


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