2015 is going to be just a bit longer than other years, but you’ll hardly notice this abnormality, as scientists have only added a tiny second to the count to make up for the Earth’s slowing rotation. But, Techie News reports, Google is already taking preemptive action to make sure that one silly second doesn’t take down the Internet as we know it.
The extra second will be counted on June 30th, at 11.59.60, when clocks will stand still for one full second to make up for the added time. The day will thus have 86,401 seconds instead of the usual 86,400, which is why the Internet may have problems staying up.
Or better said, computers might “panic,” and sites could go down as happened in 2012 with Reddit, LinkedIn, Yelp and others. So far, mankind has done this 25 times since 1972 to keep up with the Earth’s changes, though it has become increasingly more important for computers as of late, as more and more machines sync up with atomic clocks.
“If a computer is asked to carry out an operation at a time when the second is repeated, the computer is unsure what to do, resulting in a crash,” the Techie News wrote.
That’s where Google comes to the rescue, as the company has figured out a way to preventing sites from crashing during the period. Instead of simply pausing for a second, Google will be gradually adding a millisecond to its system clocks before the event, so that computers are corrected in real time, without counting the same second twice.
The technique is called “leap smear,” and while clever, it doesn’t come without criticism. The U.S. opposes this solution, as the extra milliseconds might prove to be disruptive to navigation and communication, but most importantly, to timed monetary transactions.