This Site May Harm Your Computer – The Day Google Broke

I do not get to see breaking news very often but once I awhile I am in the right place at the right time. Today was one of those days. I just happened to do a quick search this morning to see where I was ranking for “blog consulting” and noticed something odd. All of the sites listed were showing “This site may harm your computer” below them. I thought that was odd, so I did a search for LGR Internet Solutions, and again all the results were showing the same thing. Odd, as far as I know there is nothing on my website that will harm another persons computer.

LGR Internet Solutions search on Google on January 31, 2009 AM. Google falsely reporting it will harm a computer.

LGR Internet Solutions search on Google on January 31, 2009 AM. Google falsely reporting it will harm a computer.

I then did a search on Google for Google and can you guess was I discovered? That is right, Google says that the Google website will harm your computer. I thought I would not get to see that again so I grabbed another screenshot and posted it to my Flickr account.

Google May Harm Your Computer

Google May Harm Your Computer

Taking a quick look at Twitter and discovered that this was going on all around the world. TechCrunch broke the story first. Google Flags Whole Internet As Malware.

The problem lasted for about 30 to 40 minutes with the entire Internet being flagged as malware by Google. Google’s blog states that is was human error and a problem with an update from StopBadWare.org. A post on their blog suggests it was not a problem on their end that was the cause. Whatever the cause Google appears to have fixed the problem.

If you are still seeing “This site may harm your computer” for results for your website, you should investigate your website in case it has been compromised. There is of course a huge question about the damage that Google can do to a company and website when errors like this occur. Google has caused problems in the past when their Google News service picked up an old story and published it as new news on Google News about an airline going bankrupt. Why did the Google team not check the update for such an error before pushing it out on to the production servers? I am sure this is not the end we have heard about this.


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4 Responses to This Site May Harm Your Computer – The Day Google Broke

  1. Carsten says:

    Jeeez get a life and stop writing about ‘problems’ that doesn’t matter.

  2. Josh says:

    It was one brief 40 minute slipup on a Saturday morning. I don’t think it really hurt anybody’s sales too much. Still, it was kind of cool to see Google screw up for a change.

  3. LGR says:

    That is funny considering you came to my site from the Google blog.

    I can only guess that you don’t have a website since you did not leave a URL, but what do you think the implications would be to your website if Google flagged it as “Harmful”? Do you think it would hurt your sales, visitors, contact leads? These kinds of problems do matter and affect webmasters of every size. The average person might not understand what that flag means when they see it on the searches and the fact that Google flagged all sites like that I can imagine that the average Internet user was probably pretty confused by them.

    Thanks for stopping by

  4. LGR says:

    True that incident probably did not hurt anyone to much, but how often do they label sites incorrectly with that label? Considering how hard it is to contact a real person at Google it could take weeks to have a false positive removed.

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