When Google goes Wrong…

Google flags every search results as malware at 6:30am to 7:25am at 31 Jan, 2009 PST.

this site may harm your computer
Google flags every search results as malware [image from TechCrunch]

I was watching TV and my elder brother told me that the Google search results are not accessible. I checked Google on my mobile. The Google for mobile was working fine but the classic Google was adding a text “This site may harm your computer” on every search result.

A quick check on my twitter account (@liewcf) showed that it was Google’s fault, which was fixed after couple minutes.
The official Google blog responded about the error, a human error.

Google flags search results with the message “This site may harm your computer” if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. Unfortunately, the URL of ‘/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and ‘/’ expands to all URLs.

As a result, every site was flagged as malware by Google.

The Google team reverted the backup after found the problem and it was disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25am.


My two cents

Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Google is not an exception. The world’s largest and most popular search engines was not functioning! It was a big hit for Google.

Luckily, we still have the alternative search engines like Yahoo!.

Now, would you think twice before keeping everything on Google?

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62 Responses to When Google goes Wrong…

  1. syokbeb February 1, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    I agree never depend only on google because if anything goes wrong in the future.You will suffer.

  2. Chris February 1, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    I see the message and I quickly close it. Thanks for sharing this information. A nice answer from Google…it’s human error.

  3. CLF February 1, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Ah i noticed Wikipedia entries on Google are marked as “harmful” last night, wonder why…. So that explains everything. :)

  4. www.dpinterworld.com/blog February 1, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    Yeah man, even Google itself was flagged as a Malware! Thats new. My ads earnings from other websites tanked to half when I checked this morning. Crappy isn’t it when things happen this way. The last time they did that was Feb 2007. If they do that, it’s just gonna benefit Yahoo and MSN even more.

  5. Paul Tan February 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    these malware errors also appeared when you view your own site’s profile in google webmaster tools

  6. Irene February 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Yea… I was greeted by this also last night when I was doing some searches. Almost gave me a heart attack and I dared not to click on any single search result -.-

    Anyway, Happy niu year!

  7. shun2u February 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    not 6.30am to 7.25am actually, it’s 10pm something to 11++pm yesterday (In Malaysia). I was so shocked yesterday, i thought my pc was affected by malware. Fortunately not. T__________T

  8. Danny Archer February 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    yes, it happened around 11pm when i was searching for Firefox addon.

  9. Robin February 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Certainly a rare occurence from google. They don’t make too many mistakes

  10. Weilian February 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Besides Google, Avira also flags Acer GameZone as Malware too.

  11. nilai3 February 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    Luckily I was lazy to solve my website error mentioned by google in the webmaster tools yesterday at 11.00pm 31/1/2009 . I thought some errors occured due to malware problem in ALL of my websites WITH different server. No jokes, All of my websites showed error of malware. I was thinking of reinstall ALL of the back up datas. Wow! Google also can make Mistake :)

  12. Daniel Adnan February 2, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    Wheww…luckily it is solved within hour. Not everything is perfect and we have to lived with that fact and be cautious all the time.

  13. Marco February 2, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    It was a saying, “Human meant to err.”
    I would say good job to Google as they manage to rectify the error within 15 minutes.

  14. Go-Air February 2, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    i noticed this too…but they fixed it preety fast

  15. SzeHau February 3, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    Ha that’s funny.. It must be some mistakes made by the Google’s programmer and luckily manage to rectify the error in a shot time.

  16. julian February 3, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    That is the problem with the dominant position of Google, rather like Microsoft with all its virus problems. Never put all your eggs in one basket… with ‘cloud computing’, net books, and all that, there will be more and more people depending on Google with their data online.

  17. Jayce February 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    This is interesting. Hmm… Where was I during that time? :P

  18. Denwai February 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    there is human behind Google :)

  19. a.whose February 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Wow…new info..where did u find this thing out…very clever…

  20. shawn February 4, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    huh? I never realize that…until read this post…

  21. CrusheD_LameR February 5, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    Hmm…google’s team always think inside the browser…~!

    I haven’t found such problem, so you are the one reported to google?seems like many people noticed that too…

  22. fathersez February 5, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    Sure looks like a lot of people got to catch Google’s 15 minute error. I also got it and thought it was a virus infection on my laptop.

    Anyway good of Google to own up. Too many companies and Authorities, especially in our country never admit their mistakes.

  23. Jepun Techno February 6, 2009 at 12:35 am #

    That’s it Google. no body perfect :)

  24. Haan Chiang February 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    I wonder what will happen to the staffs who made this error.

    Anyway I still think that Google is the best tool for searching, and traffic sources. In coming 10 years, Google is still the best. SE Optimization for Google is essential if you want to success on internet. My 2 cents

  25. boring guy February 10, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    Hm.. sometimes they do error ma..

  26. emobile February 11, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    I though only me facing this problem on that day but once I know it happen to anybody, its truly google problem.. luckily just for one day..

  27. nuasia February 14, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Will it happen again in Valentine Day? haha :D

  28. C905.org February 16, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    I was a bit worried when I saw my cell phone site marked “This site may harm your computer”.

    It was only a minor glitch since G is still the best.

  29. Irkeez February 18, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    How are you Mr LiewCF, So long not updating your blog ha ! ;-)

  30. Niks February 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    Haha..is it really harmful if we accidently click on those links??

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