If Google is 'partially dangerous' how do we find anything?
People used to joke that if you googled the word ‘google’ the entire internet would breakdown. Obviously nothing could be further from the truth, but today the search engine’s news results are still enough to raise a few eyebrows.
According to widespread reports all over its own home turf, Google is currently listing its web domain as ‘partially dangerous’ to computers. This is a ranking that’s used whenever a site might place visitors at risk from malware, spyware, information theft, spam and other digital nastiness.
The logical rationale or this seems to be that somewhere in Google’s endless reams of pages there’s a chance of ‘deceptive content’ turning up and causing people, and their devices, problems. In all truth, though, there’s very little chance of anything untoward actually happening, and we’re expecting the ‘potentially dangerous’ ranking to be short-lived.
At a time when those impacted by GMail’s massive Minions PR fail still haven’t forgotten about that enormous faux pas, this latest story isn’t exactly what the tech giant will have been looking for. Particularly when, based on the same parameters for testing, Google’s rivals, including Bing, managed to escape without being listed as ‘dangerous’ (or even ‘partially dangerous’).
It calls into mind very real question. Just what would happen if Google really was a dangerous domain to get involved with, and the best advice was to avoid it at all costs? In writing this blog we’ve already conducted four unique searches via the world’s favourite online tool, and no doubt will conduct several more before the page is complete.
Over the course of a full working week, then, based on loose estimations, this means we’ll have googled things a whole load of times in order to get this or that job done. And public relations agencies are far from alone in this reliance. We challenge anyone whose wage involves a computer not to use Google within an average day at the office.
According to some figures, there are over 100billion Google searches conducted worldwide every month, which is roughly the equivalent to everyone on the planet requesting information from the engine 13 times every four weeks. Considering the percentage of the world that still has no access to the internet (60% in 2014, according to the International Telecommunications Union), that means those that do have access are extremely Google search-happy.
Google is certainly an incredibly powerful research tool, although it also risks making us lazier than previous generations. It’s easy to start worrying about our capacity to remember small details when these days we have the ability to check and double check everything online in our own time. Yet there are obvious risks that come with this due to the way the engine works- it doesn’t query the information it presents in the same way we need to.
Ultimately, whilst understanding what an incredibly powerful tool you have at your fingertips is important, time saving and fundamental, we would always advocate looking around at every possible source of information and inspiration when approaching any problem, project or campaign. Even if Google isn’t really all that (potentially) dangerous.