Ronnie05's Blog

Even “invincible” and “Infallible” Microsofts and Googles are HUMAN after all

Posted in The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on February 11, 2009

On 31st December 2008, as the clocked turned in the new year, Microsoft 30 GB Zunes all over the world started hanging and disfunctioning. A month later, Google serach reported a peculiar bug that marked every search result to be potentially harmful and capable of harming the user’s machine! Users were baffled at these seizures and failure! Afterall, we are talking of the two biggest corporations in the world: The Redmond based Microsoft which introduced computing to the world and Mountain View’s Google, which is synonomous to “search” on the internet.

It brought in a lot of unwanted attention to these companies! Both these bugs were attributed to a human programing error.
Essentially, the programme code had defined a leap year to >366 days (instead of “=”). So the programme code was stuck on identifying 2008 since it had 366 days. (It could identify years with 365 days and it was looking for aleap year with 367 or more days!)

So far as Google is concerned, It appears that someone added the forward slash to the list of bad URLs. The forward slash of course is part of most URLs. So the search engine dutifully blacklisted most of the Internet.

Small programming errors that cascaded into a world wide crisis. Nothing that the two big corporations could not handle…but all the same, it does prove, even “invincible” and “Infallible” Microsofts and Googles are HUMAN after all…..

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