Google ups efforts to protect users against unwanted software

Google is looking to minimize its users’ exposure to potentially unwanted software, and to that end they have announced a few changes.

For one, Chrome users will now see the following hard-to-miss alert when they attempt to visit a website that’s geared towards delivering adware, “helpful” toolbars, and other unwanted software to users:

Secondly, these deceptive sites will also be clearly labeled as such when they turn up in Google search results.

And, finally, Google ads for these sites will be disabled by Google itself.

The company defines unwanted software as software displaying one or more of these characteristics: it promises a value proposition that it does not meet, it tries to trick users into installing additional software, keeps users in the dark about some of its functions and about the fact that it collects their private information, it affects users’ system in unexpected ways, is bundled with other software but its presence is not disclosed and, finally, it’s difficult to remove.

Site owners who have no intention of distributing unwanted software are advised to register their site with Google Webmaster Tools, so that they can be alerted if and when Google finds something on their site that leads users to download unwanted software.

Google is known for its continuous tinkering when it comes to measure to improve consumer protection. Earlier this month they shared their (partial) success story about the redesign of Chrome’s SSL warning.

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