Google has admitted that it mistook the sudden spike in searches for Michael Jackson last week for an automated cyber attack.
As word spread of Michael Jackson's death there was a "meteoric rise" in related searches.
"Search volume began to increase around 2:00pm (PDT), skyrocketed by 3:00pm, and stabilised by about 8:00pm," Google product manager RJ Pittman said in a blog post.
According to Pittman, last week also saw one of the largest mobile search spikes ever seen, with five of the top 20 searches about Jackson
As a result, for about 25 minutes, when some people searched Google News they saw a "We're sorry" page before finding the articles they were looking for, said Pittman.
The surge in demand for news and information about Michael Jackson hit most US news sites, with many taking more than double the usual time to respond.
Microblogging site Twitter was forced to disable some functionality on the network to keep the service working.