Today, for a period of around 40 minutes, every Google search result was accompanied by the words "This site may harm your computer". The chatter on Twitter was one of the first places where the problem was raised, and the surprising thing was that there was no obvious Google response to the hundreds of Twitter users reporting problems. One sharp-eyed Twitter user, Mark Shaw, spotted the problem and captured this image.
It was also clear from Twitter comments when the problem was fixed. An explanation has now been supplied by Google. So far, so good. But how did Google do in terms of managing the incident? 5 out of 10, I'd say.
Firstly, they failed to respond as quickly as they could have done, and clearly need to have a presence on the Web's early warning system, Twitter.
Secondly, though they fixed the problem quickly, there was no apparent pro-active move to deliver the information to their users (all of us). There is no status link from the Google homepage, for example.
Thirdly, the statement they released is good. They explained the problem in simple terms, took responsibility, and gave an assurance that they'd be more careful in future.
It won;t go down as a case study in crisis media management, and may just become a footnote in web history. But Google need to learn a lesson from this. I hope they do.