September 20, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Google warns us of…Google

Google warns us of…Google

Sometime on Saturday morning during Super Bowl weekend, Google’s Search engine went into a premature ‘prevent defense.’

For a period, every search result returned came with a line warning about potential malware, and every attempt to click through to the result went through a warning page.
Even a search for the word “Google” showed malware warnings for Google.com, Google Maps, and Gmail.
The issue quickly gained notoriety on Twitter, where users who were experiencing the issue quickly turned to each other for immediate tests. Nothing like the validation that proves ‘it’s not just me’ or ‘it’s not just here.’
By 9:38 a.m. Eastern time, there was enough groundswell among the Twitter community to converge on a hashtag, #googmayharm. With a half hour, that hashtag was being used at a rate of more than a tweet per second, according to Twitter’s own search engine (which, as far as we know, has yet to return a false positive on a malware result.)
Technology news sites were at least 20 minutes later in their reporting, with Australia’s [IT Wire] posting at 9:59 a.m., and UK’s [PC Plus] coming in 10 minutes later.
While this is a relatively fast response for news outlets, the issue to ponder is the number of people who knew instinctively that news search results would be behind the curve; the early adopters flocked to Twitter to diagnose and confirm instead of waiting for the news to sift through traditional filters.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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