Did Google adjust a setting or twist a dial on its security meter? We’re having some trouble with the search via toolbars, but maybe the problem is limited to searches from our network here at the paper.
Searches via the Google toolbar in both Explorer and Firefox today are returning an error message that routes them through a security checkpoint with this message:
… 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.
We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.
I was suspicious because the first time this happened I was searching for information about Windows Vista, but it even happens if I search for Google.
Time to query Mountain View, by e-mail.
Meanwhile, I’m glad it’s so easy to switch search engines in the Internet Explorer 7 toolbar.
UPDATE: Apparently it’s a problem here at the Times, not with Google. I’ll share more when I hear what happened; there might be an interesting lesson for enterprise Google users.
FINAL UPDATE: Two days later it was mysteriously fixed. Our tech folks don’t know why, and I still haven’t heard back from Google PR.