Well, that was awkward.
On Tuesday morning, users noticed that Google was rating its own website as “partially dangerous.” Entering “google.com” into the search engine’s Safe Browsing tool, which scans URLs to identify potentially malicious websites, returned the cautionary note.
“Some pages on this website install malware on visitors’ computers,” the status page warned. “Attackers on this site might try to trick you to download software or steal your information.”
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Fortune noted that Google’s Safe Browsing tool had stopped grading its flagship site as a hazard on Wednesday morning. A Google spokesperson told Fortune that the alert abated late last night, and that the Safe Browsing service is always on the hunt for security issues that might need fixing.
The issue is likely the result of some Google (GOOG) web properties hosting risky user-generated content. The safety details of the warning specifically called out Google Groups, a service that provides online discussion boards and forums. If a user posted something harmful there, Google’s tool would have factored that in when assessing the security of the google.com domain as a whole, a person familiar with the matter told Fortune.
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For that reason, Google’s tool continues to indicate that pages on some sites relying on user-generated content, including Tumblr.com and Github.com, are still “not safe to visit right now,” as the Washington Post noted. (Other search engines like Bing.com and Yahoo.com as well as social media sites like Facebook.com and Twitter.com did not turn up warnings as of the writing of this post.)
Google’s Safe Browsing tool has called out google.com as partially dangerous before. A month after a cleaned-up version of the Safe Browsing tool debuted last fall, the service alerted users that “some pages on google.com contain deceptive content right now,” as one Reddit commenter noted. At that time, the warning mentioned links involving Blogger and Google Plus in addition to Google Groups as having potential security issues.
“If a favorite website shows up as ‘dangerous,’ it’s often due to user-uploaded bad content or a temporary malware infection,” wrote Google security engineers in a blog post introducing the Safe Browsing tool in October. “The Site Status will return to normal once the webmaster has cleaned up the website.”
Guess the coast has been cleared.