Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google Labels the Entire Internet as Badware

Google seems close to launching a cloud-based storage service called GDrive, according to reports. But is that any reason to diss Microsoft's competing Live Mesh service? Photobucket

It seems that at least right now earlier this morning, if you searched for the term "Live Mesh" using Google search, you would get a list of results, every single one of which was tagged with the This site may harm your computer malware warning that appears when a "questionable" site appears in your search results. This warning is a result of Google teaming with the site StopBadware.org.

I noticed this earlier today, when searching for Live Mesh information for a story. It's already been corrected, but at the time, inclusion of the term "Live Mesh" in any query would give you results with every result item marked as a suspicious site.

Somehow I don't think I need to worry about mesh.com, wikipedia.com, or msdn.com.

But then I noticed something that clarified the results. In fact, it wasn't the query "Live Mesh." It was any query. It turns out that every search result for every term was returning every site as malware (or, since StopBadware.org is involved, badware).

In other words, the whole Internet was malware. In fact, there are some socialogists and some psychologists who might agree, saying that we spend waaaay too much time at our PCs, but that's a topic for another discussion.

Meanwhile, it's unclear who was at fault: Google or StopBadware.org.

I managed to catch the screen grab above before they fixed the problem (click to enlarge), whatever it was. While obviously a colossal fubar and not a conspiracy against "Live Mesh" in favor of GDrive, it was still quite hilarious, with my initial search query.

Update: Google has explained that (basically) they checked in a file that list the suspicious sites and included a wildcard entry in their, flagging the whole Internet.

Also, it should be noted that although Google works with StopBadware.org to develop criteria to use in flagging sites, StopBadware.org does not provide Google with the list; Google creates the list on its own.



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