Category Archives: Search engine news

Human Error Caused Google Glitch published an interesting article  on Feb 2, 2009, reporting how Google labeled all websites as potentially harmful the prior weekend.  This problem helps us see that Google is, indeed, fallible.  “Nearly all search results were flagged with the warning the site  ‘may harm your computer.”  Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, issued a statement on the company blog that attributed the inappropriate warnings to human error.”

Google maintains a list of sites that are known to install malicious software and this list is updated manually and through automatic methods.  Unfortunately, in one of the updates, the URL of  ‘/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file.  ‘/’ expands to all URLs and the result was that websites that came up in a search results page between 6:30 am PST and 7:25 am PST displayed the message, “This site may harm your computer.”

Google has an on-call site reliability team that managed to fix the problem within about 40 minutes but if you were one of the searchers during this timeframe, it would have been frustrating in the very least. I wonder how many people began to clean their systems of a non-existent virus?

You can read the entire article, Human Error Caused Google Glitch, on Google dominates the search market with almost 70% of the searches on the Internet.  But their dominance seems to also be supported by a strong support team.