In April of 2022 Google experienced a number of issues related to their search index. That index is actually a database comprised of countless web pages that could be used to satisfy user requests for information. Whenever a user requests information using a Google search engine, ranking algorithms sift through the search index in order to find the most useful information possible, all in less than a second.
The problem that occurred in April was that part of this search index was temporarily lost, and that happened because some planned Google changes were rolled out to the search index just as parts of the deployment system became disabled. As Google was updating its index at various data centers, a number of documents were accidentally dropped in the index, causing partial corruption.
Engineers who were on call quickly identified the situation, and a number of users around the world pointed it out as well. This allowed Google to revert to the previous known good version of the search index, so that service could still be provided. As things got back to normal, all search engine optimization experts, for instance, Digital Spotlight, were able to help users overcome any inefficiencies in their systems.
The Search Console issue
The issue with the Search Console came about as a direct result of the problem with the search index. The search console is a collection of reports and tools that an administrator can use to obtain information about their website's performance regarding online searches. For example, you can get information from the Search Console about how many clicks a website gets through organic searches in a given day, or information on which pages are included or excluded from the search index.
When the problem with the search index occurred, it had a ripple effect on the Search Console because some of the information used in the Search Console is obtained from the search index. As a result, it became necessary to temporarily halt any updates to the Search Console because a backup version of the search index had to be installed.
This caused some service disruption in the Search Console, and it took several days to fix it because it also took several days to manage the search index issue. It was a full two weeks later that things got back to normal with both the Search Console and the search index.
In the wake of the dual problem with the search index and Search Console, Google notified users that info might not be correct for a while until both these tools were fully restored. Google also put in place a policy where they can communicate better with webmasters in the event of large system failures like the ones that occurred.
Google came up with more ways to quickly share information about bugs in the Search Console and search index and made this information available to webmasters who suspected that an outage may have occurred. They also decided to make prompt posts to the Search Console page describing data anomalies when such anomalies were detected. They also implemented a policy whereby they would tweet as quickly as possible to webmasters to assure everyone that they were aware of the issue and were working diligently to resolve it.
With these new community policies in place, Google expected much less confusion in the event of any serious system outages taking place. Thus far, these new communication methods seem to have been very effective, as webmasters and others are now aware more quickly when any outages occur, and they're also aware of the anticipated resolution time.