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Google blacklisted the internet on Saturday

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It only lasted for 40 minutes (they say - seemed longer to me) but Google had an internal error that effectively blocked every search page result. It provided the results but refused to click through. I was looking for something that turned up a Wiki page yesterday and that was blocked so I tried another and another. Everything was blocked and Google threw me to a generic warning page alerting me to the dangers of Wikipedia's URL as well as a few other harmful sites such as real estate sites. Hmm, maybe they were onto something.

Google placed the internet on a blacklist today after a mistake caused every site in the search engine's result pages to be marked as potentially harmful and dangerous.

The problem affected internet pages across the whole planet, and lasted for around 40 minutes before engineeers were able to fix it.

The glitch centred on Google's malware detector, which is designed to keep internet users from visiting sites Google believes may install malicious software when users browse them. Google blamed "human error" when an engineer tried to add one web address to the list of those deemed suspicious, and mistakenly added them all.

"We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on 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. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file," Google said in its official blog.

The incident occurred at around 2.40pm.

Apart from lost advertising revenue – which one expert estimated at $2-3m (£1.4-2m) – the incident is embarrassing for the world's most popular search engine, known for its reliability.

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