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Google Search Results gone crazy

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google-harmfulJust happened to be browsing around the net and noticed a weird happening on Google’s standard search results. A couple of sites were coming up with “This site may be harmful” and on clicking the search result link, I was taken to a standard page warning that you shouldn’t continue to the page as it may harm your computer.

This is part of Google’s safe browsing system, but I knew something was up when every single search result came up with the same warning, including a search for Google itself!

Following a search result brings you to a page stating:

Warning – visiting this web site may harm your computer!


  • Return to the previous page and pick another result.
  • Try another search to find what you’re looking for.

Or you can continue to http://www.google.com/ at your own risk. For detailed information about the problems we found, visit Google’s Safe Browsing diagnostic page for this site.

Something tells me there’s been a glitch in the machine. I’m sure it will be fixed in no time, and may even be a localised issue.

Let us know if you’ve seen something similar.

Update: 15:00 UTC

I’ve double checked this in other browsers and can report that it’s the same across the board. I’m also hearing some noise coming in on Jaiku and Twitter about it.

Update: 15:17 UTC

As of 15:17 the error is fixed in Ireland and it looks like it’s rolling out all over the place now. Talk about “Breaking News” though – I’ve never seen such a flurry of communication and content creation over anything.

Final Update: 18:45 UTC

Google have blogged about this issue just under 2 hours ago reporting that:

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.

They go on to explain that it was essentially human error and someone accidentally included a “/” in the list of sites to be considered harmful – this resulted in all sites being marked so!

Google Search Results gone crazy: 5 Comments

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1. Enrique Hernandez
3:22 pm
January 31st, 2009

yes, i had the same error, notice that was a problem when i was trying to get the new Live Messenger, for a minute i was thinking…”wow google has gone too far this time, saying that microsoft software can damage your PC”…then i realised it was a problem on the server

2. Joanna
3:28 pm
January 31st, 2009

Yes, it just happened to me five minutes ago. Seems to be back to normal now but very, very strange! Had to looks on yahoo and try internet explorer but google was definitely screwed for a while!

3. #Googmayharm | Ciaran's Blog
3:33 pm
January 31st, 2009

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4. Alex Leonard
3:38 pm
January 31st, 2009

@Enrique Ha! Blocking MS links sounds pretty amusing, I’d say there’d be some storm of controversy if they did something like that. When I first noticed it I was extremely confused – the site I was seeing the malware issue on was an old site I’ve used for years – then it clicked.

@Joanna I assumed it was something up with a firefox plugin or something at first, but yeah, it appears that it was a worldwide phenomenon – seems to be fixed all across the board now too.

5. A Life Without Google | (d)N0T - dream not of today
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January 31st, 2009

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