By Bennett, Jessica
Newsweek , Vol. 158, No. 05
Marissa Mayer on the day she 'broke' the Internet.
Interview by Jessica Bennett
It was my job to oversee everything that had to do with Google search: what users saw on the homepage, and all the code written behind it, right down to the very last character. But we accidentally introduced a stray "/"--a slash--on our servers. It was the slash heard round the world. Suddenly, every page on the Internet was popping up with a big red warning: THIS SITE MAY HARM YOUR COMPUTER. You couldn't access anything on Google. It was as if the Internet was broken.
It was 8:27 a.m. on a Saturday in 2009. I was in Minneapolis visiting my brother. I woke up late and was racing around my hotel room trying to get ready. There was a knock on the door. I was sure it was my mom, telling me I was late. But it was my friend Jini. "Yes, you're late to breakfast," she said calmly. "But also: Google is down. I think you might want to deal with that first."
I ran to my laptop, and my phone began ringing off the hook. I was getting emails from users all over the world, with subject lines like "GOOGLE IS BROKEN." #GoogMayhem started trending on Twitter. I work well under pressure, but I began to have this horrifying sense of just how many millions of people were looking at their computer screens thinking, "What is going on? …