If you are on Chrome, it won’t let you see this

Ever since I began blogging a bit more regularly here (upping it to my usual frequency?) Twitter friends have been telling me that they cannot read these entries because there is a malware warning.
   What they have in common: they are all using Chrome.
   I wanted to try Chrome out again (I had it installed on my old desktop machine) but I’m turned off again. It’s part of the Google empire, and going on it would mean reversing my reasonably successful de-Googling of my life that I started earlier this year.
   Chrome is accusing me of having malware on this site, which is total cobblers. It is a bit like Google accusing Vincent Wright of having a splog last year—that matter that I had to fight Google on his behalf over for six months.
   I have used Blogrolling to host the blogroll on this site since 2006. It appears, if I read the Chrome complaint properly, that someone else had used Blogrolling (probably one of many millions of users) and put in a couple of malware links. Maybe they had put in legit links that have since become malware sites. Whatever the case, Chrome appears now to accuse anyone who even uses Blogrolling of hosting malware.
   It’s maybe a good thing that Chrome is being vigilant: extra vigilance is better than being lax. But to me, it’s a reminder of how Google has been cavalier with false accusations—Vincent was by no means alone—which tarnishes its brand.
I have to report things Google is doing right, out of fairness. In August I wrote a letter to the company to point out that there were things in my Google account that should not be there. There were services where I no longer agreed with its terms and conditions, and would the chaps kindly take them out of my account?
   They haven’t complied fully, but a few things have been fixed. Adsense now shows ‘0 products’ (it incorrectly showed two at the time of the letter), although ideally I would prefer not to have an Adsense entry at all. The Blogger count of the number of blogs I have was on four for many months when it was, in fact, zero. It now shows ‘1 total’: still wrong, but closer to zero than four was. (Again, I had requested complete removal of my Blogger account.) Last week, Docs showed I had one document, but that has now corrected itself to zero again. (The correct number was, and is, zero.)
   And, the most major of all, I no longer have Social Search: Google had been insisting that I had over 800 connections, which was impossible considering I deleted my profile. (The number of connections grew from the 700s after deletion.) Having connections suggested that Google retained a record of all the links I once had in my Google profile, regardless of the fact that it was using private information that it no longer had permission to use. After all, it got me a Buzz follower despite my unchecking a box that implied that that would not happen—and that wasn’t the only time I got signed up to Buzz without my permission (or a myriad of other Google services, including Google Talk and Google Notebook).
   The lesson seems to be: if you want Google to be more careful with how it uses your private information, write a letter. And I mean the sort that takes ink, paper, stamps, a jet plane and carbon emissions. Things are still not done to my satisfaction, but they are gradually improving.
Elle MacphersonGoogle will find the newer stuff, but not always the most relevant stuff—a search for an old Elle Macpherson story is a case in point.

There is one thing Google does not seem to do very well any more: search.
   That’s an exaggeration, but I have been really surprised at things that it has failed to find of late. For example: stuff on this blog. It is not to do with age: Google finds the older entries from this blog without any problems (despite the Blogrolling issue noted above). Those older entries were compiled using Google-owned Blogger, when it still offered FTP publishing. The entries, like this one, which have been put together with Wordpress, cannot be found readily (if at all). Could it be because so many of my Wordpress entries here have been anti-Google? Duck Duck Go and Bing do not seem to discriminate between Blogger- and Wordpress-compiled content on this site.
   And just plain stuff at Lucire doesn’t get found very easily. A 2000 story we did on the 10th anniversary of Elle Macpherson Intimates is a good example. The other search engines find it: it’s the only online story on the subject. Google does not: it kicks up some really irrelevant links where Elle Macpherson Intimates and 10th anniversary are mentioned, but as unrelated concepts. Duck Duck Go has it as its second entry, as does Bing.
   This is not about how highly Google has placed the story nor is it about where Google has put Lucire. (A Lucire entry is found by Google, on the second page, which has a link to our 2000 article, but the article itself is non-existent on Google, despite inward links.)
   There was another few recently. One was when I tried to locate a Typepad post about Vox locking me out. Granted, my Typepad blog is pretty new (started when Six Apart closed Vox), but Duck Duck Go had no problems locating the entry. I forget the exact queries, otherwise I would link them now for you to check. Whatever the case, Google failed to find the links.
   Even if it were not for my problems with Google, I would have shifted to Duck Duck Go on the frustration that I could not find things on the ’net that I know for sure exist. I still use both—there are still queries which Google handles better than Duck Duck Go—but I can no longer consider Google a complete research tool.
There is some good news out there in Tech-land USA (read the Bay Area). Six Apart seemed to care a lot more about Typepad than Vox. After the first import of my Vox data to Typepad failed, its boffins came in and helped out, and got the site up and running. I am pleasantly surprised that many of these entries still contain the images I uploaded to them. The only loss has been the videos, but they warned us about that and gave us the option to shift them to Flickr. I opted not to, so I can’t blame anyone but myself.

You may also like

12 thoughts on “If you are on Chrome, it won’t let you see this

  1. I’m sure this is probably very ironic but, given your views on Google, are you aware that, by using blogroll, you’re adding Google Analytics tracking code to all your pages?

  2. I had no idea. In that case, it’ll have to go. I’ll just have to take the time to import each entry into the WordPress blogroll instead of the Blogrolling one.

  3. Um (2) – did a Google search for this post (http://www.google.co.nz/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=If+you+are+on+Chrome,+it+won%E2%80%99t+let+you+see+this) and there it is, first item.

    I used a Chrome Incognito window so not logged in.

    Same with Firefox (again, not logged into Google): http://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=If+you+are+on+Chrome%2C+it+won%E2%80%99t+let+you+see+this&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    All on Ubuntu.

    Sorry Jack, not seeing what the issue is

  4. Mike, that is easily explained: at 4.30 p.m. today, after Andrew’s comment about Google Analytics, I removed the old blogroll and replaced it with a Wordpress one.

  5. Um, be surprised if it’s the Blogrolling service though – can visit the site in Chrome and all good.

    I think you’re commenter (on your blog) was referring to the fact that you were having Google Analytics ‘inserted’ into your site by Blogrolling and not that it was causing your site to be marked as ploppy-poos

    But I could be wrong, the Web is a weird and amorphous beast

  6. A Tweeter sent me his screen shot and it pointed at two links that one could have arrived at through Blogrolling—but not my blogroll. That seemed to be the reason for Chrome’s decision to block this blog. If I can find his Tweet to me, I’ll paste the URL, as there might be an alternative explanation.
       You are correct: Andrew was not suggesting that Analytics was causing Chrome to mark my site. He simply found it ironic that I would be Google-sceptic yet allowed a blogroll service that inserted Analytics code.

  7. Dan Satherley to me on Twitter got this from his Chrome: ‘The website at jackyan.com contains elements from the site rpc.blogrolling.com, which appears to host malware.’ So perhaps it is the rpc subdomain and not www? Still hunting for the screen shot.

  8. What’s about chromium-browser, its free and not Google (Google take the source for his Chrome). I use it with Linux and with DDG ;)
    I also will start to kick Google off. For website analytics I use the very useful Piwik. [http://duckduckgo.com/?q=piwik → Zero-click]

  9. Tim, thank you. I tried Chromium but it interpreted some HTML code in a non-standard way. Glad to meet another DDG fan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *