Google May Ask You To Prove You’re Human

    June 11, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

British digi-rag the Inquirer’s Fernando Cassia had a run in with the "GoogleMind," as he calls it, after entering a query that sent up red flags. To continue his search, Cassia had to prove he wasn’t a robot.

With a name like that, he’d have to prove to me he wasn’t a character from a romance novel (oh, Ferrrrrrrnando!) – just kidding.

Cassia encountered an error message people are running into more and more often. Type in a query and el Goog returns with this message:

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.

The message goes on to recommend running a virus checker or spyware remover and asks that Cassia type in the letters from a captcha.

The query that set off Google’s automated query alarm? "Cyberguard password," he says.

Cassia wasn’t sure how a query was "harmful" to other users of the search engine, and that is not immediately clear from the text of the error message. A quick search on that text shows that Cassia’s not the first to see it.

Others speculate that Google’s unexpected response is an attempt to thwart SEOers running automated programs that queries to measure search results in some way. Bots eat up the system, it would seem.

But the wording is a bit misleading, maybe Google was just "dumbing it down" as they say for less tech-savvy searchers. That idea is interesting in itself as the queries that seem to bring back that error message are highly technical terms that no novice would use.

No, the masses like to search for Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and fanciful combinations of the two – often with the hopes they’ll be paired up with a guy named Ferrrrrrrnando.

Sorry, Fernando, couldn’t resist.