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Google labels entire Web as 'malware,' Web labels Google as 'monopoly'

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You might have slept through it, but Google had a massive malware mix up Saturday morning, leading to questions about whether one company has inordinate influence over web life.

From about 9:30 a.m. EST to 10:25 a.m., Google searches warned that every site it indexed contained malware that could "harm your computer." Even trusted sites such as, the NYTimes, and Google's own pages received this troubling alert – only YouTube seems to have escaped the glitch. Users brave enough to click on the search results anyway received a second safety warning: "Visiting this web site may harm your computer! ... Return to the previous page and pick another result." But there were no other results; Google labels entire web as "malware."

The problem was "human error," explains the company. Someone accidentally updated Google's logs to flag every site with a "/" in its URL. Unfortunately for Google, every site has a "/" in its URL.

The snafu confused users and infuriated web businesses, which saw a big dive in hits during the hour-long mix up. Google corrected the records, but concerns remain. Has Google grown too big?

In an editorial called "Google’s flub: Do we have a Web monoculture too?" ZDNet editor in chief Larry Dignan writes that: "to many folks Google is the Window to the Internet. If folks can’t Google people are simply lost. That fact alone probably qualifies Google as a Web monoculture although it may be a touch premature to make a definitive call. However, Google touches everything and frankly that’s a bit worrisome."


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