So I was doing some basic blog surfing on BlogSearch when all of a sudden I saw an error page with this text:
… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.
We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.
Here is a screenshot of the page I get.
I am guessing this had to do with the number of queries per minute or some other type of quota put on the blog search page. I’m not quite sure I understand the logic behind this limitation. The only thing I can think of is that the application is running low on physical resources.
What happens when non-techy users see this error page? They freak out! They go buying all sorts of virus software and get all paranoid thinking their PC is infected. This is not a user friendly message and Google should find a nicer way to handle this, especially when their stock is trading at over $500 per share. After a few minutes of “googling” around, I found a few other people mentioned getting this same error on other Google search properties, even on the Google homepage.
The easy fix for me was to delete the browser cookies and Voila I’m a human again. I have also heard that somtimes google can blacklist your IP in which case you might have to flush your DNS and renew your IP hoping to get a new one.
I have to say, this was an alarming, annoying and somewhat scary event, especially coming from a company who sends its own robots to my servers dozens of times every day. If Google were to really block me one day it would change my life 🙂 or maybe I would just stop googling and start asking.