Search giant Google saw a massive spike in traffic following the death of pop-star Michael Jackson and initially classifying the surge as an attack on its infrastructure.
Search traffic began to spike at around 2:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, peaking just before 3:00 p.m., the company said in a blog post on Friday. Many people could not wait to get to a computer, Google said: The volume of searches conducted on mobile phones was one of the largest the company has ever witnessed. The net effect for the company resembled an automated attack.
"The spike in searches related to Michael Jackson was so big that Google News initially mistook it for an automated attack," the company said in a blog post. "As a result, for about 25 minutes yesterday, when some people searched Google News they saw a 'We're sorry' page before finding the articles they were looking for."
Jackson died on Thursday morning in his home, with the cause initially described as heart failure. On Monday, the The Sun reported that a leaked version of the autopsy analysis found that the 5 ft. 10 in. Jackson only weighed 112 lbs., had numerous needle tracks on his body, and was bald.
The page to which Google sends searchers during a likely attack uses a CAPTCHA to try an verify that the searchers is human and not a rogue program. "Your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application," the page states.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos