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We Must Remove Pesky Humans From This Equation

By - January 31, 2009

Themwebsis Busted

This morning reports came streaming in that “Google was freaking out.” From a Slashdot thread:

“It looks like for the moment at least, all Google results are failing the malware checks and being listed with a warning ‘This site may harm your computer,’ including all pages from Google themselves. Users trying to visit pages at search results will only be able to proceed via manual manipulation of the search result link to remove the Google click-through (which is also broken). Until Google fixes this bug, it looks Google web search is useless.”

Other reports claimed that Gmail was also affected, from a mailing list I monitor:

Just fyi, the problem also affected any mail coming into Gmail, wrongly marking emails as spam and putting a big red warning flag on

them…..So check your spam folders.

Screenshots here.

Google’s Marissa Mayers, who I am sure did NOT have a pleasant Saturday morning, acknowledged the screw up:

If you did a Google search between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning, you likely saw that the message “This site may harm your computer” accompanied each and every search result. This was clearly an error, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to our users.

What happened? Very simply, human error.

A NY Times blog covers it here.

My favorite commentary out there on the boards?

Skynet – er, Google – has become self-aware and has deemed that the entire Internet is harmful to us power sour – I mean, humans, and is protecting us for some reason it has not divulged yet…

Gotta love them Internets.

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6 thoughts on “We Must Remove Pesky Humans From This Equation

  1. Dan says:

    With MM in Davos, doesn’t this further demonstrate that Google would fall apart if she left?

  2. Google’s first explanation mentioned that the nonprofit helps the company determine criteria for that list of sites Google warns users to avoid. Google periodically updates that list. In the revised blog post, Google clarified that they were responsible for introducing the mistake on the list today — accidentally adding “the URL of ‘/’ ” to the list — which caused all sites to be flagged as potentially harmful.

  3. ArabBible says:

    This was the first time in 13 years that I saw Google screw up……..well, they seem to have a decent track record.

  4. Steve Flinn says:

    What this episode reinforced for me is that although Google is the dominant search player, the switching costs with regard to search, unlike many other IT applications, are negligible. I hadn’t used Yahoo search in years, but it worked just fine when needed . . .

  5. I couldnt even get into my google analytics or webmaster tools, kept on getting tol that it considered me a malaware site, and was refusing me entry. Really frustrating.

    There have been a lot of instances lately where google has failed, it seems they are more interested in their costs than the little people.

  6. asri yatno says:

    I strongly agree with your opinion