Google Toolbar Is Sick – Now Removed

DiceWhilst I am upset about what Google says about my blog with their displayed Toolbar PageRank, and am even considering liquidating my site on Google Toolbar Buttons because of their poor technical support and response to feedback, this is totally unrelated.

You might think there is some element of bias, but what I just discovered is highly disturbing, and the thought of a family member seeing the same, maybe a child when they clicked a button on the “do no evil” toolbar, is just too great a risk.

Google Personalized Recommendations

Some time ago I wrote about Google’s personalized recommendations button, affectionately known as Google Dice or as I referred to it Google Crap(s).

At that time the results were fairly poor compared to StumbleUpon, but it has supposedly now gained 5 months worth of search history on which to base its selections.

Having not clicked the button in over 5 months, today I decided to give it another click, just as a parting gesture to a Google Toolbar that I have had installed for as long as I have had this PC.
I already intended to remove it, but was giving it a “fond goodbye” ceremony.

I clicked the button 3 times – the first 2 results were reasonably on topic, the 3rd had absolutely no relevance to my prior search history, and my wife uses Internet Explorer which isn’t installed with the Google Toolbar, and is never used to log into my Google Account.

The following picture I regard as not safe for family viewing, is quite morbid in a sick humor kind of way, though it might be regarded as safe for work.

The picture features a small dog staring at a covered object, with a police car in the background. The dog is staring at the covered object as if underneath was it’s favorite toy that got stuck, like under a sofa.

The second picture underneath the first depicts the same dog curled up slightly next to the covered object, or possibly scratching in a slightly curled up manner.

The object however isn’t now fully covered up, and appears to be a corpse with the hand sticking out from under the cover.

Here is a link to the picture, it is nofollowed

It Is Not Based Upon My Search History

I have actually just taken screenshots, and the history is probably on my HDD somewhere if I need proof. I am almost always logged into Google when I am searching, unless I am testing something.

Glancing at the drop down list available from the personal results button, I can see that maybe only 10% of the content I would look on as being relevant to anything I have searched for in the past, and none of it is relevant to my IP address.

Random Crap

Random Crap 2

How To Uninstall Google Toolbar In Firefox

Go to Add-ons in the top menu

Add-ons

Remove The Google Toolbar

Remove Google Toolbar

I assure you I am not overly sensitive to this kind of picture, I can even appreciate that some people might find it funny, and I have seen plenty of really gross stuff, but the Google Toolbar is one part of Google’s empire that have not only become irrelevant, but also unsafe for family consumption.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the heads up. I work in a elementary school pc lab where some teachers have installed the g toolbar on some of the pcs…I personally have never been a fan of the g toolbar nor have installed it on any of my personal computers. I hate to see something similar if one of my students were to press the p.r. button.

    • says

      I often have my 4 year old niece playing flash games on my computer. She isn’t old enough to search for anything.

      My Stumbleupon is set to be family friendly though I normally hide it just to give more screen real-estate, but I had never thought to hide the Google Toolbar.

  2. says

    I’m surprised they even included images in their suggestions. Seems to me that that gets awfully dangerous. Not that the textual results look a whole lot better…

    But what is really funny is that the *same photo* is in my personal recommendations as well… So are a few other things like the bouncing boobs in Resident Evil, and oddly that same Flickr photo…

    How personalized are these recommendations anyway? Anyone else seeing the same thing?

    • says

      Mark that is even more worrying

      When I forst looked at at, apart from specific local stuff I had some cross-over with Mu on PronetAdvertising

      I suggested that somehow people were assigned to the same aggregated groups.
      Maybe the fact I have searched to stuff related to a particular market segment, such as programming stuff might influence the results if some programmers have been searching for morbid stuff or bouncing boobs.

  3. says

    It wasn’t meant as morbid or funny but to illustrate the high fidelity of the dog to its owner which goes to the end.

  4. says

    Andy, I have seen the picture you’re referring to, and after looking at the recommended list, Id say most of them have come from digg. The picture you referenced was frontpaged on digg just the other day (although the post was commenting on the loyalty of the dog and the tragedy of the picture, not making light of it).

    If youre a digg frequenter, (as I would guess most of us are), could this be where google is pulling these recommendations from?

  5. says

    One the issues I noticed with the Google Toolbar is after I upgraded to Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) my bookmarks stopped working.

    No support or fix for this was offered by Google. It took over 30 minutes of research through Ubuntu forums to finally find a solution (involved the download of several packages via Synaptic Package Manager) and get my bookmarks working again.

  6. says

    Sick or not, I’ve always wondered why so many internet users were happy to download such a rotten piece of spyware.

    It says Google on it, it must be trustworthy? Removing it is the wisest move you could make IMO.

  7. says

    While stumbleupon is a great user-moderated tool, I don’t trust google in the same way, and the fact that they don’t respond to support requests is even more reason to avoid google dice/toolbar. Not to mention the privacy issues.

    If they can successfully filter content on google images, why not on their toolbar?

  8. says

    A more insidious piece of spyware would be harder to find ;-)

    It always struck me as odd that hundreds of thousands of internet users with anti spyware and anti adware applications running on their computers, happily installed it in the first place. Then again, if it says Google, it can’t possibly be evil – silly me!

    Good decision Mr Beard :-)

  9. says

    Google Safe Search has not been “family friendly” since it’s existence. It’s no surprise the toolbar isn’t safe either. Thanks for the info.

  10. says

    Show me a comparable sell check that I can use sans tool bar and you will have given me back 30 to 35 px of screen space – it’s the only tool I use the toolbar for these days.

  11. says

    Andy,

    Totally unrelated but looks like your FeedBurner Feeds are pucking … I just tried to subscribe to your feed use options provided and get consistent errors. Might want to double check that …

    Cheers.

    Alex

    • says

      Hi Alex

      I just tried by clicking a Google Reader button (and an example) and that seems to work

      Any method that previews the feed first seems to be broken

      I would suggest just manually adding the URL http://andybeard.eu/feed/

      This seems like it will be temporary, hopefully fixed soon, but it is certainly on the Feedburner side.

  12. says

    I have told people time and time again Google is evil. No joking aside. Seriously. Heart of the beast. Belly of the monster. Watch you data people.

  13. says

    Andy, I totally agree that this just isn’t appropriate. Ugh.

    Thanks for the heads up…it’s just another good reason to trash the toolbar :)

  14. says

    I can’t remember the last time I installed the Google Toolbar. I prefer using the Search Status Plugin, and Web Developer Toolbar for FF. But I will admit I still make a few bucks a month off of my ads for installing Firefox + Google Toolbar on my other website :)

  15. says

    Hi,

    I read and read about the various posting u had regarding Google, especially the Toolbar. I can’t be help but feel that u really hate it a lot. I’ve also got Google Toolbar on my IE browser. Wonder should i remove it too. Anyway, i just switched to Firefox browser. There’s a very neat toolbar that serves much more functions then the Google Toolbar. It’s called Seoquake. U may want to give it a try.

    Cheers!

  16. Serge says

    Wow, you really are quite out of your mind, aren’t you? If you knew anything about that picture, you would understand that there is NOTHING funny about it, nor anything sick. That dog belonged to the person under that sheet, and really the photo is quite a testament to loyalty and companionship. But of course, I think you are just looking for something to complain about. Good thing the internet has so much space so that you can sit around and write asinine articles about things you know nothing about.

    • says

      On the TV, if they were going to show a picture of a corpse, even covered up, they would probably give a warning to say the following image might be disturbing and not suitable for younger viewers.

      I totally understand the sentiment, but I didn’t get a warning from Google.

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