Sunday, November 17, 2013
Google Goes Evil (Ad Block Plus)
Google has gone Dr. Evil on us.
By the way, I believe Dr. Evil was based on the real-world character of Fritz Haber.
The other day I was using Firefox, and I got a notice that I should update to a newer version of Firefox. I believe this was a legit notice, but nevertheless I was busy, so I squelched it.
Later on, I decided to update Firefox manually, so I put in "Firefox Update" into Google and saw several hits for what appeared to be Mozilla Firefox.
Appeared to be being the operative words.
The first hit was an advertisement on Google for something called "Firefox_Mozilla_todownload" or some such nonsense. Not thinking clearly, I hit the link and a page that looked a lot like the real Firefox download page came up.
I thought, "This looks legit, they even have the Firefox logo, albeit very large" and I hit "download now" and my computer froze.
Thankfully, Malwarebytes, Spybot, and Windows Defender were all smarter than I was. They blocked the download on the spot and would not let me open it.
I did some more research and realized that "todownload.com" is a virus site that loads the nearly-impossible-to-get-rid-of Babylon search redirector. I dodged a bullet there.
But the question remains - why is Google accepting ad money from sites that download viruses, adware, and other sorts of malware to your computer?
What ever happened to Google's motto of "Don't be Evil"?
Today, it is "Don't be evil - be DOCTOR EVIL!"
Google has gone over to the dark side.
Fortunately for every evil Corporation like Google, there are others not-so-evil, like Mozilla, or Spybot, or Ad Blocker Plus.
Ad Blocker Plus, which can be downloaded for free from https://adblockplus.org (for both Firefox and Explorer) will block ads on Google, on News sites, and even on The Daily Show (no more ads for Axe Body spray - hooray!).
It works as a plug-in and works seamlessly. There is one setting you have to tweak, however. In Firefox, go to "tools" and then "ad block plus" and then "filter preferences" and then UNCHECK the box labeled "allow some non-intrusive advertising" (an oxymoron if there ever was one). This will kill all the ads on Google searches, including the ones from odious malware peddlers.
I would feel bad for Google, blocking their ad revenue and all. But Google has it coming. Actually, Google has a whole lot of bad shit coming their way, if they continue to allow things like malware sites to "advertise" on Google.
And perhaps this is a turning point for Google. Google right now seems omnipresent and successful and profitable. But they are just one Windows-8 away from oblivion (where Microsoft is headed, if recent events are any indication).
You can only annoy your client base so much, until they start seeking out alternatives. Already, I am finding that I have to go to Bing or Yahoo or some other search engine to find articles and resources, as Google tries to pre-filter my results based on what it thinks I want to see (e.g., stuff I have already seen). And the harvesting of data from my e-mails and other sources is starting to get, well, creepy.
For example, if I mention here, in this blog, that I want to buy a new Toyota, you can bet that the next time I log into a Google site, the sidebar ads will be for the local Toyota dealer. Let's try this and see if it works.
Of course, ad-blocker plus may just thwart those plans!