Google bug reason – labelled every site “Harmful”

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Recently Google got a bug that started labelling every website with the message “This site may harm your computer”. The complete details are given below.

Google has literally committed one of the biggest mistakes of its decade long history.Google labelled every website on the web as ‘malicious’ for nearly 55 minutes(between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m.).Millions of users all over the globe were completely unaware and astounded of what had happened to the world’s most popular search engine.

Google,which has really become synonymous to ‘search'(Googling = Searching) today,wouldn’t have even imagined such a terrible situation in its wildest dreams.Precisely,Google started labeling every website on any given search with the message “This site may harm your computer !” between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m.

And to millions of all those folks who blindly believe in Google(and whatever Google shows),it felt like the entire World Wide Web has undergone a malware attack.Thanks to proactive Blogosphere and Twitsphere,which helped folks around realise that Google can also commit a blunder !

Few hours later,there came an official apology and justification from Google,clarifying what really happened between the doomed 55 minutes(between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m.). Google clearly mentioned StopBadware.org as the supplying party of all the URLs to the search engine,which Google flags as ‘Malicious‘.

Then Google silently committed its own “Error”

We periodically update that list and released one such update to the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here’s the human error), the URL of ‘/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and ‘/’ expands to all URLs.

Mentioning StopBadware.org in the clarification cum apologetic post  was clearly a way of sharing the ‘bad patch’ with the named Non-profit org.But just a little later,StopBadware clarified its part and marked Google’s statement as incorrect.

According to StopBadware

Google has posted an update on their official blog that erroneously states that Google gets its list of URLs from us. This is not accurate. Google generates its own list of badware URLs, and no data that we generate is supposed to affect the warnings in Google’s search listings. We are attempting to work with Google to clarify their statement.

As I am writing this,Google has just modified its apology post(few minutes back) where the role of StopBadware has basically been modified.Below is the modified portion.(marked in ‘Blue’ in the post)

We maintain a list of such sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.

After StopBadware slamming Google for unnecessary involving their name in the entire fault and Google’s immediate response to it,Google can do nothing but,take the complete blame over its own shoulders only.

Although the scale and aftermath of this ‘blunder’ might be terrible for Google,one shouldn’t mind it too much as everything is fine(as ever) now and Google’s good deeds for more than a decade for all of us are good enough to give them many more chances of commiting ‘errors’ (don’t you relax with this Google !)

Prashant Sharma is a Delhi based Entrepreneur who spent most of his college days polishing his marketing skills and went for his first business venture at 19. Having tasted failure in his entrepreneurial debut, he turned a Tech-enthusiast, specializing in web technologies later. Today, he heads Accu-rate Media, a Digital Marketing and Publishing firm and writes at TechPluto as well. Join him on Google Plus

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