Google May Harm Your Computer (#GOOGMAYHARM)

    by Dharmesh Shah

    Date

    January 31, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    It’s Saturday morning here in Boston.  I got up earlier than usual (especially for a Saturday) since I had some stuff in my head that I couldn’t get out.

    Hopped onto the computer, fired up Google for some quick searches.

    Warning, Will Robinson!

    Low and behold, just about every site in the search results was giving me “This site may harm your computer” warning.  Hmmm, me thinks.  Something’s not right.  So, I do some more searches, same issue.

    googmayharm

    Now, normally, this wouldn’t be so bad except that even my sites were giving the same warning.  Of course, anything that impacts me is a global crisis.  RED ALERT!. 

    I’m wondering about all the traffic I’m likely going to lose because of this warning.  What number of users will actually click on a link that the almighty Google says may harm your computer?  Not many, I’m thinking.  But I relax a bit.  Our regular readers would not likely be put-off this easily.  They’d likely click.  They’re loyal, right?

    So, I click on one of the links and then I see this screen.

    google-warning-shot

     

    Houston, now we have a real problem.  Not only are warnings showing up on the results page, now people that click in are getting an even bigger warning.  At this point, nobody in their right mind is going to go any further.  But, I’m not in my right mind, so I decide to go further.

    What I find interesting is that, Google says I should (a) Go back and pick another site (b) Try another search.  Of course, Google knows I can’t possibly be looking for the site that I’m looking for.  (Which I am).  Then, it finally concedes (a little).  It says:  “Or you can continue to http://blog.hubspot.com at your own risk.  To make things harder, they didn’t even make the link clickable.  So, if I really want to go to that page (which I do), I have to cut-paste the URL into the browser directly.  They want no part of my idioticness when it comes to going to my own site (that might, just might harm my computer).

    As it stands, the Internet (and particularly twitter) is a flurry with others having this same problem.  I get credit for sparking off the #googmayharm hash tag.  Fun, fun.  

    Leave a comment if you’ve seen this error (particularly if you’re somewhere other than the U.S.).  And, I promise that reading this article did not harm your computer in any way. 

    Of course, chances are, like me, your website doesn't harm anyone either.  But, regrettably, Google likely harmed your web traffic today .


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