Google Bug Leads to More "We're Sorry" Errors for Searchers

Feb 12, 2009 • 9:30 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google "We're Sorry" Error MessageEver conduct a search at Google and be presented with a "We're sorry" error from Google? The image on the right is what you would see and Google thinks you are a machine conducting automated queries and they want to validate you as a human.

Well, over the past few days, I have been noticing a much larger number of threads with complaints from searchers that they have been getting this message. I typically see threads on the issue but not the number and volume I have been seeing over the past few days.

I then spotted a Google Web Search Help thread that has confirmation from Google that this is an issue on their side. Skylar from Google said:

Hey! Thanks y'all for sharing this strange behavior in your Google's search results. This is an issue (we're working on it) caused by computer worms that search for vulnerable sites to infect. These nasty annoying computer worms will use certain search queries or patterns to find those sites. When we detect these abusive queries, we display the 'We're Sorry' page to stop the worms. Once in a blue moon, your search queries can coincidentally match the search patterns that worms use, and you get blocked as a result.

A quick fix you could try is simply adding another key word to make your search queries more unique (and different from the queries worms use). By making this change, you're less likely to be blocked. Check out to read an interesting blog post on reasons behind the 'We're Sorry' page.

So it seems like Google is aware of showing this message to real humans, a bit too often and they are working on a fix.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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Michael VanDeMar

02/12/2009 03:00 pm

That actually doesn't make a ton of sense. This has been going on for a while, and it seems to go in waves, until it gets bad enough where everybody starts noticing. Some of the queries don't look anything like what he's describing though. For instance, for months now, if you do an allintitle: search for a quoted phrase, and the word "design" appears anywhere in the quotes, it bugs out: Adding anything to the phrase doesn't seem to help. Also, I've seen plenty where the first page comes up fine, but the second and subsequent pages bomb out if you have your serps set to 100/page. In those cases it's obviously not the search query itself causing the issue. They should just go ahead and admit that it's not behaving as they intend, and they don't know why.


02/26/2009 10:40 am

Actually, the problem has been going on for 3+ years and Google is far from admitting a bug. The blog post cited appears, rather, to indicate it works as anticpated. Default to Guilty! ttfn John

Kim DeVaughn

03/01/2009 09:40 am

Google's explanation,as well as the error msg is just so much bull. I've been getting these msgs only late at night for a couple weeks now. No searches were (explicitly) involved ... just various "gadgets" for my home page, like Word of the Day,, World Clocks, Dictionary, Backgammon and seemingly all the "Pixie" games, etc. This has happened every late night for a week and a half or more (except last night). C'mon Google ... tell us what gives ... /kim

Lakshmi Bhaavan

03/18/2013 08:11 am

For a single computer its fine to clear cookies and clearing cache. But in a work-group of 35-40 Computers How can i solve this problem ?? In this Group browse are using with page rank, Web rank, seo tool-bars, alexa traffic, moz-bar plugins and extensions are using they are unable to work with out thous toolbars. How can i Fix Google Search “We’re Sorry” Error Pages

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