This week Google started blocking people from using Google’s search engine. If you try and use advanced queries, such as you might use when you are trying to understand why Google is not indexing certain pages, you get a block message and are prevented from using Google:
Google Error We’re sorry…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. If you’re continually receiving this error, you may be able to resolve the problem by deleting your Google cookie and revisiting Google. For browser-specific instructions, please consult your browser’s online support center. If your entire network is affected, more information is available in the Google Web Search Help Center. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.
This happens to me every time I try and look past page 10 or so of a search result this week. If I clear the Google cookies, as suggested, nothing improves. This is very frustrating, and has caused at last two people I work with to start using Live.com for search and guess what.. they like it! One says it is easier to use than Google, and the other says her website is ranked in MSN and that is a good enough reason to use it for a while and besides, Live search is pretty good.
Here’s one reason you need to go deep into Google’s results: run a site query to see what Google has indexed from your site, and Google replies with “page 1 - 10 of about 10 million results”. But if you click on the tenth page, you don’t get the 101 or so results. Instead you get a page that says “page 21-29 of about 29 results” plus a notice that the other 9 million or so they originally reported are “substantially similar” to the 20 already displayed. So which is it Google.. you have indexed 10 million pages or just 29 pages indexed?
We find out by clicking deep into the results. Google says there is a 19th page of results, and offers a link to it. Click it, and see the truth: Google is only indexing 29 pages, and even though it may know of 9 million others (we can’t be sure), it isn’t displaying those to users for this query (contrary to what it says on the results page).
But we don’t find out this week. This week, if you click into those later pages that Google says exist and provides links to, you get a 403 Forbidden Error. Google’s explanation (above) sounds like it is trying to instill fear and doubt into the Internet.. you may have a virus or spyware… as if to say it’s not Google’s fault. What is Google hiding? If Google.com was one of my websites, I would be afraid that Google would penalize it for being junky, because my internal links don’t actually work, and are deceptive to users.