Google blocking automated searches?

Published on March 4, 2008, 4:14 a.m.

This morning I was writing a little python, and I used Firefox's Google toolbar to search for isalnum. The strange thing about this, though, is that Google didn't do the search! Instead they gave me a 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.


Luckily I could type in a captcha and continue the search. This really caught me offguard, though, so I decided to experiment a little. I had been logged in to my gmail account t the time, so I tried clearing the cookies and cache from my browser. I searched for "python isapha", and I got the same "We're sorry..." message. But this time, there was no captcha! I also tried searching for other terms (including "dogs"), all with same result.

So what happens if I don't have a Google account? I suddenly can't use their search engine?

So this got me thinking... Is the state of malware so bad that we'll eventually have to validate our identity before using a search engine?
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