Google May Harm Your Computer, Search Engine Black Swan

January 31, 2009 · Posted in innovation, strategy · Comment 

Google May Harm Your Computer

Today every page you find on Google says “This page may harm your computer” I’m guessing a very small error in the system that checks web pages has a bug from a recent change and is causing this error. Such a small error can have very big impacts. Imagine how many sites are not receiving visits because people can’t tell if they are safe or not? Imagine all the lost click revenue for Google as people switch to Yahoo?

This is one of the reasons to not have a centralized ID system for something like Homeland Security. One stupid mistake and the whole thing falls down. Even though Google is broken there are many other search engines are available. Redundant systems are much less prone to catastrophic failures. Highly optimized systems respond very badly to the odd “Black Swan” events. Most systems these days are optimized for efficiency and not for resilience.

I’m sure this will be fixed very soon. But this is really bad software testing.