A Mistake Googled ‘Round the World


If you accidentally make a small little mistake on your web site — like typing a slash instead of a number — you might be a little red in the face. You might even get some negative comments back. Maybe catch some flack from your boss, a client, or an investor. But imagine if you’re Google and make such a mistake. Well, then, the implications are World-Wide.

Consider what happened yesterday morning when, for some 20 minutes, every search result on Google returned a messages that included “This site may harm your computer.”

Talk about bad publicity. Talk about irate “customers”! Luckily it took Google less than half an hour to fess up and fix the mistake. Can you imagine what it must be like to have that sort of world-wide influence? And world-wide exposure for every little mistake?

Here’s what Google had to say about it on their blog:

“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.

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.” — Marissa Mayer

It’s a good thing the message didn’t direct people to a malicious site instead! Then there really would have been some back-lash!


One Response to “A Mistake Googled ‘Round the World”

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