On Wednesday morning, countless people who rely on Google for everything from web searches to document sharing found out, briefly, what life would be like without it.

The web search engine synonymous with the Internet was unavailable for about an hour, particularly in the southeastern U.S., according to users and national news reports.

In addition to web searching, Google services including Gmail, Google Documents, Google Calendar and YouTube also were down.

In the Charleston area the outage was observed from roughly 9:30 to 10:20 a.m.

Brian Carter, whose Charleston company builds search-visibility and social-marketing fan bases for businesses, said people rely on Google, but fortunately Google is “pretty darn reliable.”

“We use Gmail, we use Google Drive to store and share documents, and all my calendar stuff is on Google,” Carter said. “It's critical that they stay up 99.9 percent of the time.”

Across the Charleston area the Google outage was experienced in some places but not others. Carter, for example, did not experience the outage.

“It's not the end of the world — it's a first world problem,” he said. “If you look at their up-time, it's pretty remarkable, with all the traffic they deal with.”

The Internet giant itself confirmed outages only in four states, and South Carolina was not among them.

“We did receive reports of issues with Google services this morning, Pacific Time from users in West Virginia, North Carolina, Nebraska & Georgia,” said Liz Markman, with the communications staff at Google, in an email. “However, the issue was quickly resolved and is now over. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our users there.”

Google posted no information about the outage on its Twitter account, during or immediately following the service outage, but other Twitter users had plenty to say.

“Best excuse not to work: 'I'm sorry but Google was down all day',” quipped Ryan Nelson, a Charleston public relations firm owner posting on Twitter as @Ryan_NelsonSC.

Others jokingly suggested that Google was off-line due to new national security data-gathering efforts. Bloomberg Businessweek reported last week that Google had confirmed that it inserted some National Security Agency programming in Android OS, the company's mobile operating system.

“Panic is at pre-zombie-outbreak levels,” a Twitter user from Durham, N.C., posted Wednesday morning.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.

[View the story "Searching for answers when Google goes down" on Storify]