If someone couldn't access Google.COM, it's because their DNS (Domain Name Server, a computer/program that translates the addresses like Google.COM to the numerical IP addresses) is down. Some people even argued that Google's domain was hijacked by SoGoSearch.COM and it showed their main screen. Others suggested that Google.COM was switching their DNS software. In the case that the problems are repeated, you can access the engine here:
Also, the server news.google.com may be independently unavailable just like it is now. A useful replacement is e.g.