MSN’s Live Search has announced the addition of malware warnings to their search results pages. In doing so, Live Search joins Google and Yahoo in taking a proactive stance against potentially dangerous sites; Google began adding malware warnings in early 2007. Yahoo added SearchScan alerts in May of this year.
The Live Search implementation is different from how the other two search engines show malware warnings. When a potentially harmful page shows up in the Live Search results, users see no warning until they actually try to click on the link. When they do click, a small “pop-up” box appears to the far right of the listing. Here’s what it says:
On the other hand, both Google and Yahoo show the warning immediately, without the need for a user click:
Google Malware Warning:
Yahoo SearchScan Warning:
It’s good that Live Search has joined Yahoo and Google in warning users about possibly harmful sites. But to be frank, the Live Search implementation of this warning suffers from poor usability. By placing the alert to the far right, it’s not where users are looking as they click. Because of that, and because the warning is in small text on a white background, searchers may miss the message altogether.
Webmasters whose sites are flagged by Live Search as being dangerous are encouraged to sign up for Live Search Webmaster Tools to get more information about fixing and securing their web site.