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Google’s search snafu hints at major malware mistakes

Saturday the 31st of January 2009 was the day Google’s search service failed. But it was also the day Google highlighted their biggest mistake of all — their crazy malware policy…

the Google logoSaturday the 31st of January 2009 was the day Google’s search service failed. But it was also the day Google highlighted their biggest mistake of all — their crazy malware policy…

Google search just works. Rarely do we see a search take longer than a second. However, over the weekend, someone at the Googleplex managed to throw a spanner into Google’s search engine.

It’s often during those moments, when something isn’t working as it should that are the most revealing. Outside of Google, others will have learned a great deal from this event.

As an aside, I missed the whole thing .. but hey!

On a more serious note, should we even be seeing malware notices at all? This is a question I asked myself back in May last year, which I then wrote about in a guest article on NowSourcing:

“In providing a search service, Google have an obligation to ensure their service does not knowingly or willingly cause harm to us. So imagine my dismay to see malware being paraded in front of me after an innocuous and totally unrelated search.

Think of it this way, if you bought a magazine on the subject of fishing and it was full of premium rate telephone numbers to companies that looked like legitimate fishing and tackle supplies, but were really fronts for eBay scammers, you’d be pretty well annoyed, right?

So what’s the difference when Google sit back and allow malware to persist on their search engine? There is no difference.”

I encourage you to read the full article because I cover a lot of ground. It’s my opinion that, on balance, Google are making a colossal mistake, in doing so, they’re exposing the naive and inexperienced amongst us to a great deal of potential harm, for no apparent or obvious reason.

I’m sure that in their mind, Google think they’re being open, above board and helpful. But in truth, the most appropriate thing they could and should do is remove all malware from their search index the moment they discover such things, or Google’s “do no evil” mantra counts for nothing…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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