PC magazine columnist John Dvorak had access to two of his websites blocked by Chrome and Firefox last week, based on aÂ blacklist from Google. This is done at the browser level and is very difficult to change because Google essentially has no way for websites to ask questions and get a fast response. You must inquire via Google Webmaster and then unbelievably have to prove you own the site by adding a DNS entry. Then you sit and wait for Google to clear your site. This can take days or even weeks. Dvorak is so high-profile that Google responded in a few days. The rest of us might not be so fortunate.
Not only is Google attempting to control access to the Internet, a power which is way too easy to abuse, they don’t do a very good job of it. Dvorak reported back to Google that Google itself said Google was infected (see screenshotÂ in his PCmag article.) And we’re trusting our net access to these bozos? This is made worse by Google customer support for things like this being essentially non-existent.
Any registry of malware sites should be independent, not controlled by a single company, be transparent about what it does, and should insure fast response (and re-spidering) in case of problems. No browser should preemptively stick a scary warning in your face, that’s what anti-virus and anti-malware software is for,
With little fanfare or notification Google has put itself into an awkward and compromising position. Conflicts of interest and potential for abuse are written all over this initiative.
Even though it seems like a good idea to Google, it’s not. It is currently working for the benefit of users, but can anyone guarantee that it will continue to do so? This is like the monkey with a gun. He hasn’t shot anyone yet, but is it a good idea to give the gun to the monkey in the first place?
The lack of outrage by the computing community is quite baffling, to say the least. Instead I was attacked for complaining. I’m still waiting to be cleared from the blacklist as this is written.
People are scared of Google, afraid if they offend Google they could get blacklisted. I do not trust Google to not be evil, not even inadvertently so. Dvorak and Adam Curry discuss the Google as Internet Police on their No Agenda podcast #510.