Google: So Sorry, but the Web is Closed Today. Please try again tomorrow.

Google seems to have effectively shut down the web today, at least for people who routinely use Google to find content.

If you do a search, you will see virtually all (all?) search results flagged with the hyperlinked phrase “This site may harm your computer.” Don’t bother clicking on that since everyone on the planet is clicking it and the servers can’t handle the load.

If you instead click on a link to visit a site found by your search, you will be taken to a Google page telling you that the site may harm your computer. It supplies additional information, including the advice that you can continue and visit that URL at your own risk. While they show the URL, they do not make it clickable so you need to select that text and paste it into your browser to visit the site.

So, for example, if you search for “Sun Microsystems” you cannot get to http://www.sun.com through Google because of this problem.

UPDATE: Just after I posted this, I could see Google rolling back whatever broken code they had deployed. Repeated searches for “Sun Microsystems” would randomly and less frequently return search results that included the “This site may harm your computer” tag. At this point, I am no longer seeing the problem.

Google’s apology and explanation is here.

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