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15 July 2024

Google goof erroneously flags search results as "harmful" for an hour

A visitor walks past the Google Logo at the Gitex exhibition in Dubai in October 2008. (IMAD ALAEDDIN)

Computer users doing Google searches during a nearly one-hour period were greeted with disturbing but erroneous messages that every site turned up in the results might be harmful.

The company blamed the mistake on human error and apologised for any inconvenience caused to users and site owners whose pages were incorrectly labeled.

Google Inc. said in an explanation on its company blog that the glitch occurred between 9:30 am and 10:25 am Saturday. It said anyone who did a Google search during that time likely saw the message “This site may harm your computer” accompanying every search result.

Google said the glitch was caught by on-call staff and the file was quickly fixed.