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Michael Jackson Puts Google News On Malware Red Alert

A flood of search queries relating to untimely death of Michael Jackson prompted Google News, the popular news service from Google, to initially interpret that it was under some serious malware attack, the search giant notified.

In a company blog post, Google said that “millions and millions” of web users around the globe started looking out for news on the pop star on Thursday as soon as reports about his hospitalisation and death surfaced.

Google News was reportedly inaccessible for some of the users Thursday afternoon, after the rumours on Jackson’s death broke out, and a huge mass of people went online to check out the news.

But, for around a period of 25 minutes, search queries of some users were responded by an error message saying, “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”.

Users were also asked to enter a Captcha code, which has been placed to assure that the site isn’t coming under attack during massive inflow of search queries, and help users to continue with their search. The website’s “Hotness” gauge rated the topic of Jackson’s death as “volcanic”.

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Our Comments

According to Google trends, the average worldwide traffic for the term "Michael Jackson" on the world's most popular website surged by a staggering 14 times within 48 hours before falling down the following 48 hours. Significantly, countries like Angola, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica recorded very high regional interest scoring for the term Michael Jackson.

Related Links

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Google Jackson search rate 'volcanic'

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Jackson death prompts malware alert at Google


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.